Using scolls of a higher spell level


Rules Questions


Hi all.

I got in to a debate with a fellow Pathfinder enthusiast and friend of mine over certain character builds and we came upon a snag which I can't seem to get a clear answer to.

Suppose an 12th level Magus had a scroll of Dance of a Thousand Cuts he wanted to use, what would he have to do?

My understanding was:
1. Emulate the ability score required to cast the spell
2. Use scroll UMD check
3. Caster level check

And as a follow up question, what is a Caster Level check and what are the bonuses on said check?

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Vaite Belleran wrote:

Hi all.

I got in to a debate with a fellow Pathfinder enthusiast and friend of mine over certain character builds and we came upon a snag which I can't seem to get a clear answer to.

Suppose an 12th level Magus had a scroll of Dance of a Thousand Cuts he wanted to use, what would he have to do?

My understanding was:
1. Emulate the ability score required to cast the spell
2. Use scroll UMD check
3. Caster level check

And as a follow up question, what is a Caster Level check and what are the bonuses on said check?

And one more check to read the scroll if he doesn't have read magic prepared.


Vaite Belleran wrote:

Hi all.

I got in to a debate with a fellow Pathfinder enthusiast and friend of mine over certain character builds and we came upon a snag which I can't seem to get a clear answer to.

Suppose an 12th level Magus had a scroll of Dance of a Thousand Cuts he wanted to use, what would he have to do?

My understanding was:
1. Emulate the ability score required to cast the spell
2. Use scroll UMD check
3. Caster level check

And as a follow up question, what is a Caster Level check and what are the bonuses on said check?

Caster level check basically means the lowest class level required to cast the spell.

In this case, Dance of a 1000 cuts is a level 6 bard spell, for a bard to qualify for it, he has to be at 16th bard class level.

So the DC is 20 + 16 = 36

Grand Lodge

Since it is a Bard 6 spell, there are a few things he would need:

Read magic to understand the scroll contents to begin with, or a Spellcraft check at DC 26 or UMD check at DC 31 to decipher the scroll.

Use UMD to cast the scroll's spell, DC 36 (20 + CL)

Either have a 16 Charisma (Bard spell), or make a DC 31 UMD check to emulate that 16 Charisma.

No caster level check, since he is a Magus, not a Bard. Caster level checks like that are purely for spells on your own spell list that are higher level than you can cast already.

Caster level checks, for things like using a scroll, are checks to see if you can successfully use something that is beyond your current comprehension.

Example:
Your 12th level Magus has up to 4th level Magus spells that he can prepare. 5th level spells are higher than he can currently handle, although he is close, since they are acquired at 13th level.

So, assuming he has a scroll of a 5th level Magus spell, like baleful polymorph, he would have to make a caster level check to successfully use it.
The DC is the caster level of the scroll, 13th in this case, plus one, so DC 14.
He gets the roll of a d20 (surprise!) plus his Magus caster level, normally 12 in this case (there are things that can modify that up or down), so he needs to roll a 2 or better to make the check.
Supposing it is a 6th level Magus spell, which he would gain access to at 16th level, the caster level check would be DC 17, and he would still be rolling a d20 +12, so need a 5 or better to succeed.
On a failure, he must then make a DC 5 Wisdom check or suffer a spell mishap, defined under the Magic Items - Scrolls section.
On success, the spell activates as normal, with the normal caster level used to create the scroll.

Some caster level checks can be ignored, even though they are nominally required. For example, a 3rd level Sorcerer tries to activate a scroll of a 2nd level spell. He doesn't get 2nd level spell slots until he reaches 4th level, but he would roll d20+3 against a DC4 check, as the scroll would use the Wizard caster level of 3 for the spell.


Interesting and enlightening, thank you.

As a follow up question, would it then be possible for say a 20th level magus to cast Time Stop, a 9th level wizard spell, using these same rules?


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

With the appropriate Use Magic Device checks, anyone basically can do it.

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