Free touches with a touch spell


Rules Questions


There seems to be conflicting rules in the CRB in regards to how many free touches a caster receives when casting a touch spell.

In the actions in combat section of the Combat chapter:

CRB wrote:
Touch Spells in Combat: Many spells have a range of touch. To use these spells, you cast the spell and then touch the subject. In the same round that you cast the spell, you may also touch (or attempt to touch) as a free action. You may take your move before casting the spell, after touching the target, or between casting the spell and touching the target. You can automatically touch one friend or use the spell on yourself, but to touch an opponent, you must succeed on an attack roll.

It goes on to say that if you hold the charge, on the following and subsequent rounds you can touch up to six allies as a full round action.

The magic chapter seems to give a conflicting rule:

CRB wrote:
Touch: You must touch a creature or object to affect it. A touch spell that deals damage can score a critical hit just as a weapon can. A touch spell threatens a critical hit on a natural roll of 20 and deals double damage on a successful critical hit. Some touch spells allow you to touch multiple targets. You can touch up to 6 willing targets as part of the casting, but all targets of the spell must be touched in the same round that you finish casting the spell. If the spell allows you to touch targets over multiple rounds, touching 6 creatures is a full-round action.

The Combat chapter lets you touch one ally on the turn you cast, the magic chapter lets you touch up to six on that round.

An example spell could be resist energy communal. The difference one round could make could be quite significant.

Has this been clarified anywhere? I looked through the CRB errata and could not find it. Am I missing something?

Sczarni

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Does the FAQ answer your question?


Not particularly. The question is one of action economy.

If going by the Combat chapter it takes two rounds to give the party resist energy communal. If going by the Magic chapter it can be done in one round.

With the rules from the combat chapter, a caster must cast the spell, then gets one free touch on a ally. If they wish to give the spell to more than one ally, they must wait till the next turn and use a full round action to give the spell to up to 6 allies.

With the rules in the Magic chapter, the caster can touch up to six allies as part of the casting.

For example, let's say the party finds themselves trapped in a giant oven.
The party wizard says, "I have the perfect spell for this. Resist fire communal."

If going by the rules from the Combat chapter, the wizard can cast the spell and then either give the effect to himself or one ally that round. The next round the wizard can spend a full round action to give the effect to up to six allies or a standard to give the effect to one.
This means that to give a four person party resist fire communal, it takes at least a standard action one round followed by a full round action on a subsequent round. In the mean time the party is burning.

If instead we go by the rules in the Magic chapter, the whole party (up to six) can be touched on that first round. Negating the burnt party.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Those rules aren't saying conflicting things, they are saying different things that apply in different situations.

Touch Spells in Combat: then-> Holding the Charge then-> You can touch one friend as a standard action or up to six friends as a full-round action.

say what happen if you hold a charge. It cover [b]only[/b+ what happen in the rounds following the one in which you cast the spell.

Magic chapter then-> Range then-> Touch: then-> Some touch spells allow you to touch multiple targets. You can touch up to 6 willing targets as part of the casting, but all targets of the spell must be touched in the same round that you finish casting the spell. If the spell allows you to touch targets over multiple rounds, touching 6 creatures is a full-round action.

say what will happen in the round in which you cast the spell, and in the following rounds.

The combat section lack a line reiterating that you can touch 6 friends as part of casting the spell? Yes. But that would be a line reiterating a rule that you can find in another section of the rules, it is not superseding that rule.


Diego Rossi wrote:

Those rules aren't saying conflicting things, they are saying different things that apply in different situations.

Touch Spells in Combat: then-> Holding the Charge then-> You can touch one friend as a standard action or up to six friends as a full-round action.

I think you are missing the quoted text. The Combat chapter says in the same round that you cast the spell you can touch one friend.

Touch Spells in Combat wrote:
Many spells have a range of touch. To use these spells, you cast the spell and then touch the subject. In the same round that you cast the spell, you may also touch (or attempt to touch) as a free action. You may take your move before casting the spell, after touching the target, or between casting the spell and touching the target. You can automatically touch one friend or use the spell on yourself, but to touch an opponent, you must succeed on an attack roll.

The rules for holding the charge and delivering it to up to six allies comes two paragraphs later.

The Magic chapter by contrast says,

Magic Chapter wrote:
You can touch up to 6 willing targets as part of the casting, but all targets of the spell must be touched in the same round that you finish casting the spell.

Both chapters talk about who you can touch on the round that you cast the spell. That is where they differ.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
MichaelCullen wrote:
Diego Rossi wrote:

Those rules aren't saying conflicting things, they are saying different things that apply in different situations.

Touch Spells in Combat: then-> Holding the Charge then-> You can touch one friend as a standard action or up to six friends as a full-round action.

I think you are missing the quoted text. The Combat chapter says in the same round that you cast the spell you can touch one friend.

Touch Spells in Combat wrote:
Many spells have a range of touch. To use these spells, you cast the spell and then touch the subject. In the same round that you cast the spell, you may also touch (or attempt to touch) as a free action. You may take your move before casting the spell, after touching the target, or between casting the spell and touching the target. You can automatically touch one friend or use the spell on yourself, but to touch an opponent, you must succeed on an attack roll.

Let's bold the whole sentence and not a word taken out of context.

Touch Spells in Combat wrote:

Many spells have a range of touch. To use these spells, you cast the spell and then touch the subject. In the same round that you cast the spell, you may also touch (or attempt to touch) as a free action. You may take your move before casting the spell, after touching the target, or between casting the spell and touching the target.

You can automatically touch one friend or use the spell on yourself, but to touch an opponent, you must succeed on an attack roll.

So, what it mean? "You can automatically touch only one friend" as you read it or "You can automatically touch a friend" as implied by the magic chapter rules?

As the magic chapter rules are the basic rules on how magic work, without the word only in that piece of text, we should default to the magic chapter rules for a more clear explanation, not insert a supposedly absent word in the text.

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Diego Rossi wrote:

So, what it mean? "You can automatically touch only one friend" as you read it or "You can automatically touch a friend" as implied by the magic chapter rules?

As the magic chapter rules are the basic rules on how magic work, without the word only in that piece of text, we should default to the magic chapter rules for a more clear explanation, not insert a supposedly absent word in the text.

I’m on the “it’s written for the general rule that most spells touch one target” concept. For spells like communal, you get 6 touches after the cast is finished.


"Only one" is at least strongly implied when the rule says that you can touch "one" friend that round. It is at least worthy of an errata.

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MichaelCullen wrote:
"Only one" is at least strongly implied when the rule says that you can touch "one" friend that round. It is at least worthy of an errata.

Run some stats for us.

How many spells "range touch" vs "range creatures touched" exist?

I suspect more "range touch" so that language was written thinking of those. The spells where multiple can be touched could be considered more specific and therefore change or ignore the default of "one".

Sczarni

Starfinder Charter Superscriber
James Risner wrote:
Diego Rossi wrote:

So, what it mean? "You can automatically touch only one friend" as you read it or "You can automatically touch a friend" as implied by the magic chapter rules?

As the magic chapter rules are the basic rules on how magic work, without the word only in that piece of text, we should default to the magic chapter rules for a more clear explanation, not insert a supposedly absent word in the text.
I’m on the “it’s written for the general rule that most spells touch one target” concept. For spells like communal, you get 6 touches after the cast is finished.

+1

The Developers have stated multiple times over the years that the rulebooks are not written as technical manuals. They're written in a conversational style.

Reading them as though every word were carefully crafted in place with zero ambiguity is when we break the game.


James Risner wrote:
MichaelCullen wrote:
"Only one" is at least strongly implied when the rule says that you can touch "one" friend that round. It is at least worthy of an errata.

Run some stats for us.

How many spells "range touch" vs "range creatures touched" exist?

I suspect more "range touch" so that language was written thinking of those. The spells where multiple can be touched could be considered more specific and therefore change or ignore the default of "one".

Not a bad arguement, but two paragraphs later the Combat chapter discusses how to give the touch spell to multiple targets. It requires a full round action in subsequent rounds. So it's not like "one" was a generalization or an oversight. The Combat chapter specifically accounts for affecting multiple allies with a touch spell, a couple lines later.


Nefreet wrote:
James Risner wrote:
Diego Rossi wrote:

So, what it mean? "You can automatically touch only one friend" as you read it or "You can automatically touch a friend" as implied by the magic chapter rules?

As the magic chapter rules are the basic rules on how magic work, without the word only in that piece of text, we should default to the magic chapter rules for a more clear explanation, not insert a supposedly absent word in the text.
I’m on the “it’s written for the general rule that most spells touch one target” concept. For spells like communal, you get 6 touches after the cast is finished.

+1

The Developers have stated multiple times over the years that the rulebooks are not written as technical manuals. They're written in a conversational style.

Reading them as though every word were carefully crafted in place with zero ambiguity is when we break the game.

I don't disagree, but when one section seems to disagree with another we have an excellent candidate for an errata. A GM who references one section will have a very different idea of the rules from one who references another. And finding rules that cover the situation, they are unlikely to look further for rules to the contrary.

Sczarni

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Just so we're on the same page, touching 6 allies isn't done the following round. That's what the FAQ I linked explains. It's done the round you cast the spell ("a single ally as a standard action or up to six allies as a full-round action").


Nefreet wrote:
Just so we're on the same page, touching 6 allies isn't done the following round. That's what the FAQ I linked explains. It's done the round you cast the spell ("a single ally as a standard action or up to six allies as a full-round action").

The FAQ you linked doesn't say anything at all on that topic.

"Touch Spells: If a spell allows multiple touches, are you considered to be holding the charge until all charges are expended?
Yes."

Maybe not the FAQ you intended?

The FAQ right below it is more appropriate to the topic.
"Touch Spells: In the Magic and Combat chapters, it says that I can touch a single ally as a standard action or up to six allies as a full-round action and that I can combine delivering a touch spell with a natural attack or unarmed strike. But what if I just want to deliver the touch spell to an enemy? It just says I can do it “round after round.”
Making a touch attack against an enemy by touching it, beyond the free action to do so as part of casting the spell, is a standard action. It can’t be used with a full attack."

But still doesn't clarify specifically if the round you cast a spell becomes a full round action to touch 6 people, or if the full round action to touch 6 people needs to be its own separate full round action. (I believe intent is the former, like most here, but the language in the two chapters is conflicting).


In the oven trap example you described above you would use the rules from the magic section. which covers the general rules for casting (they are not in combat).
If there was a creature or something that puts them in combat you would then use the rules from the combat section (as they would then be in combat).
There is no conflict just different conditions for casting, in different situations.

Sczarni

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Are you seriously claiming that touch spells require two rounds to use? No. They never have.

"In the Magic and Combat chapters, it says that I can touch a single ally as a standard action or up to six allies as a full-round action"

This is one statement with two options. If you cast a touch spell, you may either touch one ally, or up to six allies.

If you touch one, you've spent a total of one standard action.

If you touch six, you've spent a total of one full round action.

That's it. Not a standard action to cast and a standard/fullround to touch.


Nefreet wrote:
If you touch six, you've spent a total of one full round action.

Well, if you go by the Magic chapter, you can do the touches as part of casting the spell. So I read that as free actions that Come with your standard action cast. They just need to be touched in the same round that you cast the spell. So presumably you could move around touching your allies. Per the Magic chapter.


Nevan Oaks wrote:

In the oven trap example you described above you would use the rules from the magic section. which covers the general rules for casting (they are not in combat).

If there was a creature or something that puts them in combat you would then use the rules from the combat section (as they would then be in combat).
There is no conflict just different conditions for casting, in different situations.

While this does make a plausible explaination for the apparent rules conflict, I agree with the posters above that it is unlikely that this was the intent. Perhaps it is intended to take two rounds in combat to put this type of buff up, I just doubt it.


Gonna have to say based on my reading its
Cast spell->Take Free Touch->Done or
Cast spell-> Hold Charge-> Touch 1 target as a standard action or up to six allies as a full round action.

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