Explaining spell manifestations to a new player


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Dark Archive

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Ran into some difficulty trying to explain the rules to a newish player, and was hoping to get some advice on how best to proceed.

So far, it's gone something like this:

PC: What do you mean he can tell that I cast an illusion?

GM: He made a Spellcraft check to identify the manifestations created by the act of your spellcasting.

PC: Manifestations? What are you talking about?

GM: I'm referring to the visual phenomenon that begins to appear around you as you cast your spell. It's how other casters make use of Spellcraft to identify what it is you are casting--by observing your manifestations. What did you think casters observed when identifying others' spells?

PC: ...the spell components I guess.

GM: I'm afraid that's not the case.

PC: But there's no mention of manifestations anywhere in the rules! I've read the entire Core Rulebook per YOUR request and it doesn't say anything about manifestations!

GM: It's clearly shown in the artwork, and is mentioned in the official FAQ.

PC: But that clearly goes against several scenarios you've run in the past! Just last week you had an illusionist working against us with no mention of manifestations! *storms off*

Even after showing the player the relevant FAQ, he just alternated between asking questions I didn't really have answers for (about stealth casting, past precedents, etc.) and ranting about "unwritten rules," "crazy game developers," and "moving goals."

I'm not really sure what else to say or do to get him on board with the proper play methods. I'm worried I might lose him as a player over this. It's hard enough to generate interest in this game without having to deal with complicated rules changes--or whatever this is.


I don't interpret the FAQ the way that you apparently do. I don't go with the "pieces of art" version of the manifestation, or with anything that Spellcraft can specifically identify, for that matter.

FAQ wrote:
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.

This to me is the core of the ruling. So it's enough if there's something that says "magic is on the move" without actually giving away what it is, or exactly where the caster is, for that matter. (I'm taking the position that you only get to pinpoint an invisible caster's five-foot square if you're adjacent, the same as with a melee attack. Bystanders farther away will know that "there's some magicker in this room," but that's it.)

In short, I don't want the FAQ to take the joy out of invisible spellcasting, or illusions, or any of the other devious things that players love to get up to after investing in -- my deity of choice! -- two feats, if your player's spell was Silent & Still. (And let's not forget the nefarious fun GMs want to get up to, either, as your player pointed out.)

I'm not saying that you should change your interpretation based on mine. I'm only posting because you have an unhappy player and apparently have changed policy recently. In short, you might want to. And the FAQ does make room for group or GM choices.

FAQ wrote:
Ultimately, the choice is up to your group, or perhaps even to the aesthetics of an individual spellcaster, to decide the exact details.


From what I can tell, the problem is you introduced a new idea, effectively out of nowhere, at the time it would be most disadvantageous to the player.

When I realize that I done goofed reading the rules and we've been playing incorrectly, I make sure that every meaningful change is introduced after the game. This way, we all have time to adjust strategies to take it into account.

My advice going forward: offer to re-run the encounter with the rules in the book, then help them retool their character if the new rule impacts them significantly.

p.s. nowhere in the CRB are there pictures of illusions being cast. almost all spells that got drawn were evocation. I just checked.
Edit: I was going to be the first response, but then i decided to check every page in the CRB for pictures of illusions


This is another reason why I like Spheres of Power. Having detectable magical emissions when casting is actually a defined drawback casters may or may not have.


Short answer- magic glows. Even if you eliminate the verbal and somatic components, anyone can tell you cast a spell. Because there is a big glow going about.

Now, whether you cast an illusion, or a summoning, is all about spellcraft checks. Without spellcraft, they do not necessarily have a reason to believe there isn't suddenly a giant dragon in front of them (and in fact, I would use bluff when I actually summon to convince them it is an illusion...)

Spellcraft often goes off of verbal or somatic components, but it works without those. So maybe there are characteristic colors and shapes for schools and specific spells.

Liberty's Edge

lemeres wrote:

Short answer- magic glows. Even if you eliminate the verbal and somatic components, anyone can tell you cast a spell. Because there is a big glow going about.

Now, whether you cast an illusion, or a summoning, is all about spellcraft checks. Without spellcraft, they do not necessarily have a reason to believe there isn't suddenly a giant dragon in front of them (and in fact, I would use bluff when I actually summon to convince them it is an illusion...)

Spellcraft often goes off of verbal or somatic components, but it works without those. So maybe there are characteristic colors and shapes for schools and specific spells.

i wouldn't say that all magic glows. since there is no set rules for this it seems up to the gms how spells manifest but i would rule the manifestations of spell casting are very subtle (except the actual spell as a fireball seems pretty obvious) hence the spell craft check to identify it. if you are someone who doesn't study magic you wouldn't exactly know what to look for to tell if it was magic. if you could, spells like charm person, and illusions would be pointless as everyone would know it originated from the caster.

Liberty's Edge

Vigo Thornrose wrote:


PC: But that clearly goes against several scenarios you've run in the past! Just last week you had an illusionist working against us with no mention of manifestations! *storms off*

your player kind of has a point here. if you had an enemy roll spell craft why didn't you have the player roll to determine the illusion? i mean the character casts illusions and presumably could see the caster so why didn't it prompt a spell craft check?

Dark Archive

It's not my place to tell players what to do with their characters. If they don't remember to make Spellcraft checks, that's on them. In any case, the character in question didn't have any ranks in Spellcraft, and so couldn't identify an enemy illusionist's spell in the first place (and for what it's worth, it wasn't an illusionist, but a monster with spell-like abilities).


cdkc wrote:
i wouldn't say that all magic glows. since there is no set rules for this it seems up to the gms how spells manifest but i would rule the manifestations of spell casting are very subtle (except the actual spell as a fireball seems pretty obvious) hence the spell craft check to identify it. if you are someone who doesn't study magic you wouldn't exactly know what to look for to tell if it was magic. if you could, spells like charm person, and illusions would be pointless as everyone would know it originated from the caster.

Glowing, whispers in the wind, smell of fire and brim stone, whatever.

General point- it isn't subtle. I just go more with glowing since it is nice, simple, and easy to write off mentally for most people.

And as I said- without spellcraft, how do you tell illusions apart from conjurations spells taht actually summon a physical object?

That, and the idea that you sent out the spell before they were looking. That should also mess with identification.

For charm spells... that mostly works because you cast the spell, and the spell makes them believe you when you said 'oh, you seemed a bit pale, I cast a minor healing spell on you', because they always take your actions in the most positive light. That also works to make them write off the fact that you are now their best friend despite just meeting you, since they think 'well ain't he just a swell guy for doing that for me!'


Vigo Thornrose wrote:
for what it's worth, it wasn't an illusionist, but a monster with spell-like abilities).

SLAs can still be identified with spellcraft, so not much (SLAs work just like spells except where specifically noted). I agree with the rest of your post, though.


As another poster has already pointed out whats happened is you've basically introduced a new rule to a player specifically to block their action, if they have read the core on your request I don't think its unfair for the player to feel short changed by this seemingly new screw you ruling (in their eyes). For instance I'm gonna bet that you didn't describe visible manifestations around the monstrous creature as it cast the illusion. (also their is no art for Illusions having manifestations to my knowledge)

You should probably offer to re-run the encounter and help with some character adjustments if this effects the PC in a big way. It sounds to me like you have a fairly reasonable and creative player (he read the core rulebook per your request and is trying to use illusion magic) would be a shame to alienate them.

Generally when stuff like this comes up, especially for FAQs I would take a note of something let it happen that time and then later explain at the end of session how the rules actually work. So as to not f!&# the character over with basically better rules lawyering.


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Vigo Thornrose wrote:

Ran into some difficulty trying to explain the rules to a newish player, and was hoping to get some advice on how best to proceed.

So far, it's gone something like this:

PC: What do you mean he can tell that I cast an illusion?

GM: He made a Spellcraft check to identify the manifestations created by the act of your spellcasting.

PC: Manifestations? What are you talking about?

GM: I'm referring to the visual phenomenon that begins to appear around you as you cast your spell. It's how other casters make use of Spellcraft to identify what it is you are casting--by observing your manifestations. What did you think casters observed when identifying others' spells?

PC: ...the spell components I guess.

GM: I'm afraid that's not the case.

PC: But there's no mention of manifestations anywhere in the rules! I've read the entire Core Rulebook per YOUR request and it doesn't say anything about manifestations!

GM: It's clearly shown in the artwork, and is mentioned in the official FAQ.

PC: But that clearly goes against several scenarios you've run in the past! Just last week you had an illusionist working against us with no mention of manifestations! *storms off*

Even after showing the player the relevant FAQ, he just alternated between asking questions I didn't really have answers for (about stealth casting, past precedents, etc.) and ranting about "unwritten rules," "crazy game developers," and "moving goals."

I'm not really sure what else to say or do to get him on board with the proper play methods. I'm worried I might lose him as a player over this. It's hard enough to generate interest in this game without having to deal with complicated rules changes--or whatever this is.

You over complicated the explanations with unnecessary references to terms only used on the forums. You should have simply answered. "He made the spellcraft check to identify your spell." You could then point to the skill and show the relevant text as it's present.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

How do you explain it? Simple...

"The rules - for balance purposes - allow the use of Spellcraft to identify spells as they are cast. Those same rules - for creativity purposes - are silent as to how it works. It's left to me, the GM to flavour the details, just like I do when I describe how a sneak attack or a critical hit works."

Aaaaand you're done. Back to playing the game instead of micromanaging edge conditions.


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Vigo Thornrose wrote:

Ran into some difficulty trying to explain the rules to a newish player, and was hoping to get some advice on how best to proceed.

So far, it's gone something like this:

PC: What do you mean he can tell that I cast an illusion?

GM: He made a Spellcraft check to identify the manifestations created by the act of your spellcasting.

PC: Manifestations? What are you talking about?

GM: I'm referring to the visual phenomenon that begins to appear around you as you cast your spell. It's how other casters make use of Spellcraft to identify what it is you are casting--by observing your manifestations. What did you think casters observed when identifying others' spells?

PC: ...the spell components I guess.

GM: I'm afraid that's not the case.

PC: But there's no mention of manifestations anywhere in the rules! I've read the entire Core Rulebook per YOUR request and it doesn't say anything about manifestations!

GM: It's clearly shown in the artwork, and is mentioned in the official FAQ.

PC: But that clearly goes against several scenarios you've run in the past! Just last week you had an illusionist working against us with no mention of manifestations! *storms off*

Even after showing the player the relevant FAQ, he just alternated between asking questions I didn't really have answers for (about stealth casting, past precedents, etc.) and ranting about "unwritten rules," "crazy game developers," and "moving goals."

I'm not really sure what else to say or do to get him on board with the proper play methods. I'm worried I might lose him as a player over this. It's hard enough to generate interest in this game without having to deal with complicated rules changes--or whatever this is.

"And that player's name was Albert Einstein."


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

I always post in good faith. I just didn't think anyone would take me seriously if I posted yet another manifestation thread.

As for my posting "crisis threads" on these forums? I'm not really sure where that's coming from. Sure I've posted metaphorical situations before, but I've always been upfront about what they were.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
Umbral Reaver wrote:
This is another reason why I like Spheres of Power. Having detectable magical emissions when casting is actually a defined drawback casters may or may not have.

it's also therefore advantageous to pick that drawback up and defined whether your caster has it or not. so much better ;-;

edit:

like my current Caster in a campaign has the casting tradition
General Drawbacks: Somatic 2, Focus Casting(staff), Magical Signs, Prepared Caster.

rods are just annoying things that you get late game, I wanted a wizard with a staff damn it.


*Raises hand*

I should note that I've never actually seen a GM interpret it that way before. The drawback in question, Magical Signs, just notes that all nearby creatures know you're casting, as well as the nature of the magic in question. I don't believe this fundamentally stops the idea of manifestations, if only because they're kind of necessary for the Counterspell line of feats to work. You respond to somebody casting, and there's something that lets you know when that happens. Magical Signs just makes that something really, really obvious, and it would be kind of strange for Counterspelling to only work if foes have one specific drawback...


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
GM Rednal wrote:

*Raises hand*

I should note that I've never actually seen a GM interpret it that way before. The drawback in question, Magical Signs, just notes that all nearby creatures know you're casting, as well as the nature of the magic in question. I don't believe this fundamentally stops the idea of manifestations, if only because they're kind of necessary for the Counterspell line of feats to work. You respond to somebody casting, and there's something that lets you know when that happens. Magical Signs just makes that something really, really obvious, and it would be kind of strange for Counterspelling to only work if foes have one specific drawback...

Quote:

Magical Signs: Your magic is accompanied by a tell-tale sign;

for example, your body glows brightly, the sound of tortured
souls shriek as you cast, feelings of a deep chill affect all creatures
within 30 ft. All nearby creatures know when you are using
magic, as well as the nature of the magic used.

the point is, you only get a counter spell check if you can see them, like normal before the FAQ. This explicitly defines who does and doesn't have magical signs, thus alerting unknown people that magic just happened.

as for counter spell, you counter the spell. If an invisible caster casts dominate person they have to at least know the effect is there to counter it.

Quote:

You may spend a spell point as a standard action to

dispel an existing magical effect on a creature, item, or location
within Medium range. You may target a specific effect if you
have identified it, otherwise the effect with the highest caster
level on the target is automatically targeted.

---additional text that lets you ready an action, blah blah, uses these prerequisites---

you can only target creatures, items or locations. If you know none of these you have no target. if you can;t see the target you cannot identify the effect. etc etc etc.

yes you get spellcraft checks on spells that don't have magical signs, but you do not get them on invisible characters. Like I said, the rules are better defined in this case.


Ravingdork wrote:

I always post in good faith. I just didn't think anyone would take me seriously if I posted yet another manifestation thread.

As for my posting "crisis threads" on these forums? I'm not really sure where that's coming from. Sure I've posted metaphorical situations before, but I've always been upfront about what they were.

You probably just should have posted under this name, and said "this is how I am handling the FAQ until otherwise stated", and then listed the problem.

To me that is understandable. Posting another manifestation topic is ok because it is from a different angle than the last one.


So I think it is important to break this down through the use of existing feats and concepts of magic that are established.

From the wording of Concealed caster "When you cast a spell or use a spell-like ability, you can attempt to conceal verbal and somatic components among other speech and gestures, and to conceal the manifestation of casting the spell, so others don't realize you're casting a spell...Since you are concealing the spell's manifestation through other actions, others observing you realize you're doing something, even if they don't realize you're casting a spell."

This suggests that manifestation can be concealed. However, this feat notes that even on a successful check the magical manifestation occurs upon the completion of the spell. This allows for spellcraft checks even against concealed spells, however, for the feat to work it does suggest that the manifestation does not center around your character. After all, you are not concealing your spell very well if the manifestation identifies you as the caster.

Now, my belief is that without LoS you cannot identify a spell purely off magical manifestation. Concealed Spell suggests that you can identify the action of concealing a spell with a perception or a spellcraft check. However, the perception/spellcraft check will not work if you are not capable of sensing the caster. Invisibility or total cover will block line of sight, usually, but even so if the spell has verbal components it could still be identified. However If a spell is cast that has no verbal components, and you cannot see the caster, you should not be able to identify the spell off anything except the result.

So if Mage A is behind a brick wall and casts a silent spell, none of my players get a spellcraft check to identify the spell before it is cast only after the effect takes place. After all, otherwise Arcane Trickster's kind of suck otherwise.

That is how I suggest these work based off the Ultimate Intrigue feat.


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ShroudedInLight wrote:
This allows for spellcraft checks even against concealed spells, however, for the feat to work it does suggest that the manifestation does not center around your character. After all, you are not concealing your spell very well if the manifestation identifies you as the caster.

Disagree. I've suggested black, tattoo-like runes appearing on your skin as a potential manifestation that would not give away invisible casters but meets the FAQs requirement to give away social casting. That sort of manifestation you could easily justify hiding with one of the concealment feats.

"Casting a spell? No, my good friend, I'm just scratching an itch on my forehead. You thought you saw a magical rune there? Shadow or perhaps dirt I wiped away. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to talk to my good friend here. Uh, friend, what was your name again?"


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I think the issue here is not the interpretation of how spell casting manifests itself. It is how a GM communicates with his/her players. If casting spells makes the caster glow, or whatever, based on an interpretation of an online FAQ, the GM's needs to be describing that from the beginning. If it first comes into play well into the game when the GM is trying to screw the player, the player is not going to be having fun. If the GM is making the game not fun, the GM is failing in his/her role.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Bandw2 wrote:
Quote:

Magical Signs: Your magic is accompanied by a tell-tale sign; for example, your body glows brightly, the sound of tortured

souls shriek as you cast, feelings of a deep chill affect all creatures
within 30 ft. All nearby creatures know when you are using
magic, as well as the nature of the magic used.

Where is that quote from?... (The only place I could find it was in the 3pp Spheres of Power book...)


Well, it IS part of that 3rd party product, so it makes sense you'd find it there.


Short answer, Ignore that FAQ

Grand Lodge

The whole manifestations thing seems like a crock to me. It goes against nearly everything I have seen in my 35+ years of gaming and reading fantasy fiction.

I intend to fully ignore the FAQ, and will likely not play with a DM who chooses to use it to penalize casters.


Slyme wrote:
The whole manifestations thing seems like a crock to me. It goes against nearly everything I have seen in my 35+ years of gaming and reading fantasy fiction.

That's kind of Pathfinder's magic system in general though. It doesn't really match up with anything in traditional fantasy.

Though the statement is also kind of absurd, because there are dozens of games and movies where magic has very grandiose visual effects.

Quote:
I intend to fully ignore the FAQ, and will likely not play with a DM who chooses to use it to penalize casters.

There's nothing penalizing about not giving spellcasters more advantages over the rest of the game and I'm not sure why you think they need to be made even stronger in the first place.


The only important takeaway from the FAQ is that you can always identify spellcasting, even SLAs, and spells without components. Which is the way it's always been in Pathfinder. "Manifistations" should be (and arguably are, even according to the FAQ) pure fluff.

When one interpretation of the FAQ breaks everything and another changes nothing, why is there even an argument which one a GM should use in their game?


Quantum Steve wrote:

The only important takeaway from the FAQ is that you can always identify spellcasting, even SLAs, and spells without components. Which is the way it's always been in Pathfinder. "Manifistations" should be (and arguably are, even according to the FAQ) pure fluff.

When one interpretation of the FAQ breaks everything and another changes nothing, why is there even an argument which one a GM should use in their game?

While I mostly agree, I think part of the trouble is that it's hard to find fluff that actually matches the mechanics - an always visible cue that spellcasting is happening that doesn't actually make the caster any easier to spot. Nor do those mechanics match the usual artistic representations.


swoosh wrote:
Slyme wrote:
The whole manifestations thing seems like a crock to me. It goes against nearly everything I have seen in my 35+ years of gaming and reading fantasy fiction.

That's kind of Pathfinder's magic system in general though. It doesn't really match up with anything in traditional fantasy.

Though the statement is also kind of absurd, because there are dozens of games and movies where magic has very grandiose visual effects.

Definitely agree that D&D/PF magic doesn't match most fantasy - except stuff directly influenced by D&D.

Some visual cues to casting aren't that rare even in the literature and as you say they're ubiquitous in any visual medium. You've got to show what the casters are doing somehow after all. I'd add comics to games & movies/tv.

Or book covers, for that matter.

Grand Lodge

Some people seem to be arguing that 'manifestations' mean anyone casting a spell lights up like a christmas tree and has neon arrows over their head drawing the attention of everything nearby.

Very rarely is spell casting anything like that in fiction. Spell casting has traditionally been a little hand waving and speaking in some arcane language (usually latin)...most often it doesn't even involve much hand waving...usually it is more pointing a hand, wand or staff at something while speaking. Any manifestations come afterwards in the form of a spectacular fireball, lightning bolt, shape changing, etc.

Other than the upcoming Dr. Strange movie, wizards/sorcerers are rarely portrayed involving a technicolor light show before a spell goes off.

As far as making them stronger or giving them extra advantages they did not already have, I never said anything of the sort. Light show style manifestations for some spells just plainly make no sense whatsoever.

For example Charm Person...adding a light show to the casting of it makes zero sense, and places a fairly dramatic penalty on a spell that has not existed anywhere in the 40+ year history of fantasy gaming using spells of that sort.

Personally, I think the idea of forcing that type of manifestation into a game 7 years into its publication is a great way to alienate and/or divide your player base.


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Going by the written rules, spells have always been detectable...

And if you cast Charm Person right in front of somebody, then yes, I feel like they should notice it. XD


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

"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..."

I've seen plenty of people on theses boards make the claim that the manifestations are clearly visual in nature, due to the above passage from the Spellcraft skill.

Samasboy1 wrote:
Short answer, Ignore that FAQ

This seems to be the direction that all of my friends are headed in. In their games, this FAQ doesn't exist at all. I'm probably the only one among our circle who actually enforces the rule (even though I hate it).

Grand Lodge

The way the FAQ is worded, and the way most people are reading it...you cannot cast it on someone without them and everyone within range knowing you did it.

You can't just stand off to the side and covertly cast it...period...the way people are interpreting manifestations.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
Quote:
Explaining spell manifestations to a new player

Manifestations are a narrative device to limit full casters in social encounters.


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Slyme wrote:
Other than the upcoming Dr. Strange movie, wizards/sorcerers are rarely portrayed involving a technicolor light show before a spell goes off.

*Milo image-googles sorcerer*

Sees many spell manifestations
*Milo image-googles wizard*
Sees many spell manifestations.... and so many generic wizard in ble robe, pointy hat and stars....
*Milo image-googles spellcaster*
Sees many spell manifestations
*Milo looks at basically any videogame with magic (especially the D&D ones)
Sees many spell manifestations
*Milo looks at anime with magic*
Sees many spell manifestations (so many Magic Circles that "Instant Runes" is a trope on tv tropes)
*Milo looks at Doctor Fate*
Sees many spell manifestations (so many float-y glowy ankhs)
*Milo looks at Warcraft movie*
Sees many spell manifestations.
*MIlo looks at Witcher game*
Sees many spell manifestations
*Milo looks at anytime a caster has Suck-In Lines when casting in a spell*
That's a spell manifestation
*Milo looks at all spellcasting art in the game and the game it's based on*
.... spell manifestations.


GM Rednal wrote:

Going by the written rules, spells have always been detectable...

And if you cast Charm Person right in front of somebody, then yes, I feel like they should notice it. XD

Who was arguing otherwise?


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
wraithstrike wrote:
GM Rednal wrote:

Going by the written rules, spells have always been detectable...

And if you cast Charm Person right in front of somebody, then yes, I feel like they should notice it. XD

Who was arguing otherwise?

probably sneaky players


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Ravingdork wrote:

"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..."

I've seen plenty of people on theses boards make the claim that the manifestations are clearly visual in nature, due to the above passage from the Spellcraft skill.

"Manifestations" (however you fluff them, or don't fluff them) ARE clearly visible, and always have been. Swords are clearly visible, too. But no on has ever argued that a Rogue couldn't Stealth with a sword drawn.

Long ago my group decided that the visible cue that someone was casting that seemed to be implied by the rules, must be some identifiable look of intense concentration. We called it "Caster Constipation" and rarely thought of it again.
The fluff itself was unimportant to us, the only thing that mattered was, by the rules, casting is identifiable.

As far as I care, that fits the current FAQ. It's clearly visible. It's an obvious indicator that someone is casting. It prevents casters from running amok in a non-combat situation. It checks all the boxes presented in the FAQ.

If another GM thinks the FAQ means "light show and only light show" that's his problem


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Slyme wrote:

The whole manifestations thing seems like a crock to me. It goes against nearly everything I have seen in my 35+ years of gaming and reading fantasy fiction.

I intend to fully ignore the FAQ, and will likely not play with a DM who chooses to use it to penalize casters.

The FAQ is not a rules change. it is a clarification of what the RAW text that has existed since 3.0. It means that you can't be lazy when it comes to being a sneaky spellcaster. It means that if you want to be nefarious and sinister, you'll have to plan ahead or think on your feet.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Vigo Thornrose wrote:
It's not my place to tell players what to do with their characters. If they don't remember to make Spellcraft checks, that's on them. In any case, the character in question didn't have any ranks in Spellcraft, and so couldn't identify an enemy illusionist's spell in the first place (and for what it's worth, it wasn't an illusionist, but a monster with spell-like abilities).

It is your place to tell your players that there is magic at work (ie, the manifestations)

You are their eyes and ears. What you do not describe does not appear unusual to the PCs' senses

Manifestations of magic being used are unusual ;-)


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
Quantum Steve wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:

"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..."

I've seen plenty of people on theses boards make the claim that the manifestations are clearly visual in nature, due to the above passage from the Spellcraft skill.

"Manifestations" (however you fluff them, or don't fluff them) ARE clearly visible, and always have been. Swords are clearly visible, too. But no on has ever argued that a Rogue couldn't Stealth with a sword drawn.

Long ago my group decided that the visible cue that someone was casting that seemed to be implied by the rules, must be some identifiable look of intense concentration. We called it "Caster Constipation" and rarely thought of it again.
The fluff itself was unimportant to us, the only thing that mattered was, by the rules, casting is identifiable.

As far as I care, that fits the current FAQ. It's clearly visible. It's an obvious indicator that someone is casting. It prevents casters from running amok in a non-combat situation. It checks all the boxes presented in the FAQ.

If another GM thinks the FAQ means "light show and only light show" that's his problem

so a 2nd definition of "see" is

Quote:
discern or deduce mentally after reflection or from information; understand.

so i'll just leave this here.

Liberty's Edge

When there exists lines of feats to solve the problem of casting while being watched and the feats themselves don't even simply give you that ability for free it's clear that the intention was to have obviously visible signs of spellcasting. It is such a simple and obvious concept that the writers of the CRB didn't even think it merited being mentioned. Ever spell you have ever cast without the feats to hide it or some other ability that stops enemies from seeing you cast has had a manifestation that the enemy can clearly see.


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Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
Slyme wrote:

The whole manifestations thing seems like a crock to me. It goes against nearly everything I have seen in my 35+ years of gaming and reading fantasy fiction.

I intend to fully ignore the FAQ, and will likely not play with a DM who chooses to use it to penalize casters.

The FAQ is not a rules change. it is a clarification of what the RAW text that has existed since 3.0. It means that you can't be lazy when it comes to being a sneaky spellcaster. It means that if you want to be nefarious and sinister, you'll have to plan ahead or think on your feet.

It's a rules change depending on how they finalize it. There was never any hint of manifestations in 3.x or Pathfinder.

I have already in this thread that Jason came across this problem years ago, and had no idea what a manifestation was. He said when you cast a spell it was known that "something" happened, but he said what that something was, was not clear.

I even posted the quote before, and I will do so again. I am also going to add it to my list for easy reference anyone claiming that manifestations as an actual thing are not new.

Also in 3.5, which is after 3.0, their official FAQ said that you did spellcraft checks based on components, not any manifestations.

Since I am doing all of this typing I might as well put the quotes down one more time.
--------------------------------------------------------
He was replying to a thread discussing spellcrafting a silenced, stilled, with no material component being used. Basically a spell where the caster did nothing but stand there.

Jason wrote:

Hey there Everybody,

The rules here are certainly not clear, because they generally assume that the act of casting a spell has some noticeable element. Notice I did not say component, because I think the rules are silent on parts of spellcasting that are codified components versus those that occur without any sort of codification, such as the wiggle of a finger, change in breathing and other flavor bits that happen when a spellcaster makes the magic happen, as it were.
Back to the topic at hand, since the rules are silent here, I think it is well within the GMs purview to impose a penalty to the Spellcraft check to identify a spell without components (V, S, M). Since there is no real increase for spells with just one, I would guess that this penalty is not very large, perhaps only as much as -4.
This is, of course, up to your GM to adjudicate.
Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing
Edit: I should also note that I also agree with James, that a strict reading of the rules says you can make the check, without penalty, regardless of the spell's components.

Noted that he then goes to list examples after "such as", and none of those refer to visual manifestations such as glyphs appearing in the air.

Now let's go to the 3.5 FAQ.

3.5 FAQ wrote:


Is it possible to counterspell a spell that has no spell component?
For normal counterspelling, the Spellcraft check requires identification of verbal or somatic components. If those are missing, you cannot pass the Spellcraft check, so you cannot counter that spell. However, if you are using dispel magic to counter the spell, identifying the spell is not required and the Spellcraft check is skipped, so you can counter spells with no components.

As you can see Paizo had a different philosophy, but even Paizo never had a hard rule on exactly what was noticed(not seen, but noticed), and nothing to state the any effect on invisible casting. Everything mentioned after "such as" from Jason's post can be bypassed by invisibility.

I do think that in 3.5 you knew when someone was normally casting a spell because casting a spell was common in the typical fantasy setting, but nothing in the rules hinted about giving the location away with all of the components removed


thejeff wrote:
While I mostly agree, I think part of the trouble is that it's hard to find fluff that actually matches the mechanics - an always visible cue that spellcasting is happening that doesn't actually make the caster any easier to spot. Nor do those mechanics match the usual artistic representations.

That's fine. The idea that the FAQ means that spellcasters are easier to spot seems to have appeared on this message board, not at Paizo's FAQ. I've pointed out several examples of "manifestations" that simply mean that the spell itself is obvious, but not necessarily the caster. I could add to the other manifestations I've already listed the traditional puff of smoke and flash of brimstone that accompany something being conjured into (or out of) existence, or the I Dream of Jeanie boing every time something strange happens....

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