Early Prestige Class Entry w / Equipment Trick (Sunrod)


Rules Questions


4 people marked this as FAQ candidate.

Hey, I was having a discussion with someone about the Equipment Trick (Sunrod) feat's "Like the Sun" ability and we can't seem to come to an agreement about it. I was hoping I could get some light shed on the subject, or at least see how other people would weigh in on the subject in their home games. For reference, here is the ability in question:

Quote:
Like the Sun (ability to cast any spell with the light descriptor): You can use a sunrod as an additional material component for any spell that bears the light descriptor. The spell is treated as one spell level higher (to a maximum of 9th level) for all purposes, including the calculation of saving throw DCs and its ability to overcome sources of magical darkness.

Emphasis mine. The point of contention is whether or not this ability allows you to qualify for certain prestige classes early (such as Eldritch Knight, for example). The logic employed here is that because the spell counts as one level higher for all purposes, someone like a 3rd level wizard with this feat counts as being able to cast 3rd level spells since he can cast a 2nd level spell like Continual Flame modified with Like the Sun to count as 3rd level.

Arguments against the idea suggest that the phrase "for all purposes" includes not only what level the spell is but what kind of spell slot/spell per day is required to cast the spell. In other words, because it counts as a 3rd level spell, a wizard would have to use a 3rd level spell slot (which they don't have until level 5, obviously) to prepare their Continual Flame spell if they intend to use it with Like the Sun, similar to how metamagic feats work. A sorcerer, likewise, would have to use one of their 3rd level spells per day. Basically, you can't have the spell count as one level higher for some things but not others, and if you have it count as a 3rd level spell you still have to be able to actually cast 3rd level spells to use it.

The argument in favor of Equipment Trick (Sunrod) allowing early entry into prestige classes is that the Continual Flame spell would still be cast out of a 2nd level spell slot because the sunrod is being used as an additional material component. Material components are expended when the spell is cast, not when it is prepared, and thus a wizard with this feat would get to decide whether he's using Like the Sun (and by extension, what level the spell counts as) when he casts the spell- in this way, he could technically cast a 3rd level Continual Flame spell from a 2nd level spell slot.

What do you people think? Does a prepared caster using Like the Sun get locked in to picking what level their light spells count as when they prepare them, like with metamagic feats? Or do they apply it on the fly, pulling a sunrod from their pocket as they cast a light spell and changing what spell level it is?

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

No early entry, because you can't actually cast spells of the higher level. It is just being treated as higher.

The pre-reqs look for spell slots of the appropriate level.

It should also be pointed out, that with odd things like this, the game rules general wisdom behind the screen is what is worse for the PC. For example, if you have a metamagic enhanced spell and you try to put it in a spell storing device, it uses the enhanced level even if the enhancement isn't Heighten. Some times the explanation used the words "think of the worse case for the PC and do that".

As for when you pick it, I'd say it is upon casting. You can't use eschew materials for the sunrod so you'd have to burn an actual sunrod.


There is nothing ambiguous about "for all purposes".

Prepare Dancing Lantern, or similar spell in a first level slot, burn a feat, use a sunrod as a material component, and congratulations, you have just cast a second level spell.

Cleric 2 / wizard 1 with equipment trick sunrod @3rd level, dancing lantern as a spell known, and the skill requirements, qualifies for Mystic Theurge at 4th level. This keeps Mystic Theurge as a relevant and reasonable Prestige Class for all 10 levels.

Character level 13 = divine casting 12, arcane casting 11, domain, channel and school powers not advancing. No free spells with each level up.

There are other varieties, but I chose a simple example.


Yeah I don't think so either.

Seems like chicanery and trying to 'get around' rather than the intent of what is happening with the spell.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

ZenithTN wrote:
There is nothing ambiguous about "for all purposes".

That doesn't work because the "Ability to cast" doesn't mean one single spell or type of spells.

Explained here

You need to have the spell slots, not just the ability to cast one spell or several spells.


The spell is indeed treated as one level higher for all purposes.

Unfortunately for this idea, the prerequisite for Eldritch Knight isn't referring to the level of any particular spell which is being cast, but rather, for your ability to cast spells of a given level.

Incidentally, this means a 5th level wizard with 12 int would also not qualify for Eldritch Knight, unless she acquired a "permanent" (over 24 hours) bonus to her int. If she later lost this bonus, she would lose all benefits of her Eldritch Knight levels apart from BAB, saving throw modifiers, hps, and character level.


James Risner wrote:
ZenithTN wrote:
There is nothing ambiguous about "for all purposes".

That doesn't work because the "Ability to cast" doesn't mean one single spell or type of spells.

Explained here

You need to have the spell slots, not just the ability to cast one spell or several spells.

That's not what that says. James is referring to the SLA FAQ reversal. What the OP is suggesting has nothing to do with SLAs.

On the contrary, "3rd. level spells" has been clarified to mean "one or more 3rd. level spells", just like "+5 BAB" or "Craft: Basketweaving, 5 ranks" means "5 or more". A spontaneous caster with only one 3rd level spell known and only one daily 3rd level slot qualifies.

The trick can be duplicated with any spell by using Heighten spell from a Rod or with Magical Lineage. It is a trick that has been known since early D&D 3.0, it has never been ruled against, and AFAIK, nothing has changed in PF. I wouldn't count on bringing it to the table, though.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

Casual Viking wrote:
"3rd. level spells" has been clarified to mean "one or more 3rd. level spells"

All the clarifications I've ever seen (and I've seen several) have clarified that as 3rd level spell slots. Not some specific number of spells. Since you could be a Sorcerer with only one 3rd level spell and some number of spell slots per day, you still have the ability to cast 3rd level spells. But you don't no matter what if you don't have 3rd level spell slots. Despite being able to cast a "3rd level spell" using your 2nd level spell slots.

In any event, it seems we have differing opinions on the RAW. So the OP can expect table variance. If the OP asks their GM how they want to handle it, then the matter will be resolved.


James Risner wrote:
Casual Viking wrote:
"3rd. level spells" has been clarified to mean "one or more 3rd. level spells"

All the clarifications I've ever seen (and I've seen several) have clarified that as 3rd level spell slots. Not some specific number of spells. Since you could be a Sorcerer with only one 3rd level spell and some number of spell slots per day, you still have the ability to cast 3rd level spells. But you don't no matter what if you don't have 3rd level spell slots. Despite being able to cast a "3rd level spell" using your 2nd level spell slots.

In any event, it seems we have differing opinions on the RAW. So the OP can expect table variance. If the OP asks their GM how they want to handle it, then the matter will be resolved.

It would be the best way to answer the question once and for all, so I hope they put that in the FAQ.


Casual Viking wrote:

On the contrary, "3rd. level spells" has been clarified to mean "one or more 3rd. level spells", just like "+5 BAB" or "Craft: Basketweaving, 5 ranks" means "5 or more". A spontaneous caster with only one 3rd level spell known and only one daily 3rd level slot qualifies.

The trick can be duplicated with any spell by using Heighten spell from a Rod or with Magical Lineage. It is a trick that has been known since early D&D 3.0, it has never been ruled against, and AFAIK, nothing has changed in PF. I wouldn't count on bringing it to the table, though.

I never played 3.0 or 3.5, so I wasn't familiar with the trick's history. I suppose if a Belt of Giant's Strength can be used to qualify for a feat with a STR requirement, so too should a different item be able to qualify someone for a prestige class (of course, with the typical clause that losing what qualifies you for the class/feat makes you lose the class/feat until you qualify again). I'm not sure it makes sense that you'd be able to use Heighten Spell (or a similar effect such as Like the Sun) to increase a spell's level while simultaneously using something to lower/ignore the spell level increase and have the spell still be a higher level, though. To me it seems like you would be taking "counts as a higher level spell for all purposes" and then saying that statement only applies where it's convenient for you, instead of universally like the wording suggests... However, no one in this thread seems to have suggested that you wouldn't be able to cast a 3rd level spell out of a 2nd level slot with Like the Sun/similar abilities, only questioned whether or not the ability to do so actually counts for fulfilling the spellcasting prerequisites. So it seems that my interpretation of it is unpopular at least, if not incorrect.

Considering that, can your provide a source for that clarification about "able to cast 3rd level spells" that you mention earlier in your post? Not that I don't think it exists- I'd just like to see it myself, for my own reference.

James Risner wrote:

All the clarifications I've ever seen (and I've seen several) have clarified that as 3rd level spell slots. Not some specific number of spells. Since you could be a Sorcerer with only one 3rd level spell and some number of spell slots per day, you still have the ability to cast 3rd level spells. But you don't no matter what if you don't have 3rd level spell slots. Despite being able to cast a "3rd level spell" using your 2nd level spell slots.

In any event, it seems we have differing opinions on the RAW. So the OP can expect table variance. If the OP asks their GM how they want to handle it, then the matter will be resolved.

Likewise, could you provide some of the clarifications you're referencing? I'm not actually asking this for the sake of a game that I'm in where it's relevant. I've brought the subject up because I was curious how other people view it and which interpretation has the majority of support. I suspect that unless it gets FAQ'd, the ability to use Like the Sun to satisfy spell casting requirements early will be something that's going to vary a lot from table to table (just like early entry via SLAs was a matter of YMMV back before it got FAQ'd).


Schrödinger's Dragon wrote:
I'm not sure it makes sense that you'd be able to use Heighten Spell (or a similar effect such as Like the Sun) to increase a spell's level while simultaneously using something to lower/ignore the spell level increase and have the spell still be a higher level, though. To me it seems like you would be taking "counts as a higher level spell for all purposes" and then saying that statement only applies where it's convenient for you, instead of universally like the wording suggests... However, no one in this thread seems to have suggested that you wouldn't be able to cast a 3rd level spell out of a 2nd level slot with Like the Sun/similar abilities, only questioned whether or not the ability to do so actually counts for fulfilling the spellcasting prerequisites. So it seems that my interpretation of it is unpopular at least, if not incorrect.

I can't really answer the rest of the post, but to explain this: If "Like the Sun" was just a Heightened Spell, then... well, it would just be a pricy Heitened Spell that didn't extend casting time for Spontaneus Casters. For a prepared caster, it would be literally useless compared to Heightened Spell, and for a spontaneus caster, it would be very, very situational - it can only be one level higher, and only be used with [light] spells. Heightened Spell can be used with any spell, can go up to the highest spell level you can cast, and doesn't cost you a Sunrod. The only time a Spontanous Caster would want to use this above Heightened Spell is when they *really* can't sacrifice their move action to Heighten that spell, in which case they might have bigger issues.

If they can use it to Heighten spells without raising the spell slot, then it has at least one specific use, even it it's a situational one.

Also, note that it just requires you to be able to cast any spells with the light descriptor. You could be an Cha 10 sorcerer (unlucky meeting with a Shadow Collector or something) who can only throw out the Light and Dancing Lights cantrips and still use it, even though you'd be unable to cast 1st grade spells.

But then, I've never been much of a fan of equipment tricks. They're ok for flavour... but it's not the kind of flavour I like, and I see no mechanical use in them.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

If 'for all purposes' means a second level spell counts as a third level spell for qualify for eldritch knight, then logically it must also count as a third level spell in terms of what slot it requires to cast it. Which means it won't help you qualify early at all.

Personally, I think this is silly, and 'for all purposes' clearly doesn't go that far, any more than owning a scroll of fireball means you can cast third level spells.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

Schrödinger's Dragon wrote:
Considering that, can your provide a source for that clarification about "able to cast 3rd level spells"

In a 1 minute search, I didn't find a direct one, but I found a long winded description of the basic understanding under all the rules.

Full description of the meaning of "cast spells from magus spell list"

In short, a lot of the interpretations of lines of rules that some players use ignore much if not all of these basic understandings.

So a multi classed Magus that has a lot of spells with the same name as spells on the Magus list doesn't get a benefit for casting those spells.

Using the same kind of understanding, while you can cast spells that are mechanically 3rd level using your "heighten" trick. You are not doing something that qualifies as "ability to cast 3rd level spells".

Dave Justus wrote:
If 'for all purposes' means a second level spell counts as a third level spell for qualify for eldritch knight, then logically it must also count as a third level spell in terms of what slot it requires to cast it.

I didn't think about that, but you are right. It would require a slot higher. That could also probably mean that it is something you apply when memorizing and not when casting.

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