Magical Lineage and picking a level 0 spell: is it legal to do so?


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Many posts and comments on the forum boards regarding magical lineage. Most of them regarding the possibility of making a level 1 spell into an at-will spell. This is not what this thread is about.

Spent the last three hours looking for the answer on here. It appears there was never an official answer given.

My question is: can you use magical lineage with a level 0 spell?

Two or three posters did point out that by the wording of the trait you can not use the trait with a level 0 spell.

"Pick one spell when you choose this trait. When you apply metamagic feats to this spell that add at least 1 level to the spell, treat its actual level as 1 lower for determining the spell’s final adjusted level."

The wording prevents the merciful spell metamagic feat to be used (as it does not meet the prerequisite of being a metamagic feat that adds at least 1 level to the spell).

The wording would make the level of a cantrip/orison/knack be one less than lv 0. 1 lower than 0 is -1. There are a few ways this can be interpreted. One is that the -1 is only there for the calculation of the final adjusted level of the metamagic'd spell and thus you can legally choose a level 0 spell for magical lineage. Another way is that the lowest spell level is 0, which prevents a cantrip/orison/knack from being a legal option to choose for the magical lineage trait. The third way is to view it that the DEVs' RAI is that you can choose a level 0 spell with the magical lineage trait.

One of the posts some people linked/posted by one of the DEVs included the DEV say there were going to fix the wording. They fixed the wording to prevent the cheese of adding a +0 spell level metamagic feat to create a level 1 at-will spell.

From what I have gathered there has not been an official ruling/FAQ regarding whether or not it is legal to choose a level 0 spell for the trait. Based on the posts regarding the trait, most people believe the RAI is that you can choose a level 0 spell (though by RAW you cannot).

Please FAQ flag this post so we can get an official ruling regarding this.


No


If the DEVs' RAI is that it can be used with a level 0 spell, then I suggest the following wording for the trait.

"Pick one spell when you choose this trait. When you apply metamagic feats to this spell that add at least 1 level to the spell, treat the spell's modified spell level (after applying all metamagic feats' level adjustments) as 1 less."


If it's not for PFS, just ask your GM. I feel it's a reasonable request.


Amiros Valeri wrote:
"Pick one spell when you choose this trait. When you apply metamagic feats to this spell that add at least 1 level to the spell, treat its actual level as 1 lower for determining the spell’s final adjusted level."

I don't see the problem. It doesn't say that it makes 0 level spells into -1 level spells. You only treat the level as -1 for purposes of calculating the total adjustment (which will never be below zero since you had to add at least one level through a metamagic feat). It's a virtual reduction in spell level that only lowers the final result, not the original level of the spell.


yes why you would actually want to do so is another thing as there are many many many better things to use magical lineage on


> Nicholas: It is for PFS that prompted me searching for an official ruling regarding it.

>Gisher: As a mathematician, I have no problem with the virtual aspect. The reason for my query is because technically the lowest level spell in the game are level 0 spells, which is why I want an official response to the question as the DEVs stance could be either way (Schrodinger's Cat) until they give an official stance. After reading and seeing the hundreds of posts regarding how the trait interacts with spells and seeing that only the aspect of the cheese factor of making higher-level spells into 'cantrips' was clearly responded to, but the issue if you could apply the trait to a 0-level spell was not.

>Lady-J: I want to take it with the guidance orison. My character is a healer (primarily via channel energy) and combining the trait with guidance would allow me to stay in a central location without needing to move around (and provoking attacks of opportunity by moving) to cast guidance on my allies while not healing them with my channel ability. The choice of spell for magical lineage is up to each individual player and could be different for different characters of the same player.


magical lineage breath of life would be better especially if you want to use the reach metamagic on it


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lets break this up.
1: "pick a spell"
-can be of any level, so lets say level 0

2: "When you apply metamagic feats to this spell that add at least 1 level to the spell"
-that mean no to metamagic that has +0 to level adjustment but any metamagic that is +1 or more is ok. and that mean that using said metamagic with the spell would make it into a level 1+ spell. say an extended light sepll (+1 to level) would work as levle 1 spell and last X2 time

3:"treat its actual level as 1 lower for determining the spell’s final adjusted level"
-so lower the final level by 1, which mean in the above example going back to being a level 0 spell. which can be cast all day long.

as im sure you noticed this is limited to not lowering you spell to a levle bleow its original level so no casting level 2 fireballs.


I am not seeing what the trouble is. There is nothing preventing you from choosing a 0-level spell, RAW or RAI. There is no wording that prevents it and there's nothings that would stop you from using a metamagic feat with a 0-level spell.

When you take Magical Lineage, you choose a spell, any spell. From then on, when you use a metamagic feat with that spell (that would add 1 or more levels to the spell) you add 1 less.

If you chose a 0-level spell (guidance, for instance), and you tried to cast it, it would use a 0-level slot, like normal. If you tried to cast it using Reach Spell, (increasing its range from Touch to Close, a +1 increase) it would count as 1 less; which is 0, like normal. If you used Reach Spell to increase guidance from Touch to Long range (+3 level increase) it would count as only a +2 increase, or a 2nd-level spell.

If you applied multiple metamagics, like Extend Spell (+1) and Silent Spell (+1), instead of being a +2 increase, it would only be a +1 increase.

I don't see any conflicts.


Amiros Valeri wrote:

"Pick one spell when you choose this trait. When you apply metamagic feats to this spell that add at least 1 level to the spell, treat its actual level as 1 lower for determining the spell’s final adjusted level."

The wording prevents the merciful spell metamagic feat to be used (as it does not meet the prerequisite of being a metamagic feat that adds at least 1 level to the spell).

If you assume Paizo's current stance (you cannot reduce spell level below original) to be in place for any such option, merciful acid splash etc. is actually possible. Which might even be useful: Slow level progression, an urban campaign and a table prone to disband all favor such low level tricks.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

You can use a level 0.

Just like there is no way to get Level 2 Fireball there is no way to get Level -1 anything.

Scarab Sages

There is an FAQ on part of this. As James mentions, you can't lower a spell's level lower than its original level.

LINK

FAQ wrote:

Magical Lineage (trait): Can I use this trait to adjust a spell's effective level below the unmodified spell's original level?

No. For example, it won't allow you to alter a wizard's fireball into 2nd-level spell.

You can't end up with a level -1 spell, because you can't reduce the level below that of the original spell, which in this case is 0.

Nothing explicitly says you can use it on a 0-level spell, but there's no reason to think it functions differently on a 0 level spell than on any other spell. Pizza Lord provided a good explanation of how it would work.


For the people who posted since my last post:

The language of the trait specifically states "When you apply metamagic feats to THIS SPELL, treat ITS ACTUAL level as 1 lower for determining the spell's final adjusted level."

It does NOT say to reduce the modified spell level by 1 level.

So my question/query stands. Did the DEVs use the language they did because they intended for the trait not to be able to be combined with level 0 spells OR was their rewording of the trait that prevents the munchkin factor of using only +0 spell level metamagic feats from making lower-level spells (like at-will merciful magic missiles).

Lady-J: Please keep the posts in line with the topic of the tread. The topic of the thread is not what people think is the best spell to combine with the trait. Breath of Life is a great one if someone does not mind waiting several levels to get it (if they are starting at a low level). Breath of Life is not better for someone who wants to give their party a better chance at surviving to reach higher level. Guidance used on saving throws can be a major game changer if that extra 1 prevented failing certain saves (poison, petrification, etc.).

Pizza Lord: You are misreading the trait. It specifically states you treat the actual level of the (UNMODIFIED) spell as 1 lower. So my question/query stands. To give official clarification to the trait they need to tell us if they allow level -1 spells (virtual as it might be) or not. Since THE lowest level spells in the game are level 0 spells, the trait could correctly read as not being able to be applied to cantrips/orisons/knacks because there are no such things as level -1 spells.

In other instances when you reduce a number you cannot reduce it below 0. A good example of this is the fighter's armor training class feature, which reduces the armor check penalty by 1 (to a minimum of 0). If the DEVs' RAI was the same for magical lineage then level 0 spells would definitely not be allowed to be selected with the trait.

SheepishEidolon: You can NOT apply only +0 spell level modified metamagic feats to the spell. This is clearly pointed out in the write-up of the trait. "When you apply metamagic feats to this spell THAT ADD AT LEAST 1 LEVEL to the spell, treat its actual level as 1 lower for determining the spell's final adjusted level." So as it currently stands, you can not make an at-will merciful cantrip regardless of the DEVs' stance regarding if you can select a cantrip.

The (currently illegal) merciful acid splash does bring up another point.

As currently worded, you cannot apply only metamagic feats that do not increase the spell level of your chosen spell, IF it/they are the only metamagic feats to make a lower-level spell.

Note: you can make any damage-dealing cantrip/orison/knack a merciful spell if you have the metamagic feat. You do not need the magical lineage trait to do so. You do not gain any benefit from the trait if you only apply +0 spell level metamagic feats to your chosen spell.

IF the DEVs' intentions was to allow the trait to be used with any spell (including level 0 spells), the best way to word the trait is "The total modified spell level of the chosen spell is 1 less than normal. This trait cannot make the spell's total modified spell level less than the actual unmodified level of the spell."

The wording above would give clear definite answers to all the following (as of yet unofficially clarified rulings):

It would make it clear (without question/debate) that you can choose a level 0 spell for your chosen spell. As it currently stands it is not clearly defined because their are two camps of people (which neither side has a DEV who can give an official ruling) whether or not a level 0 spell can legally be chosen as the spell with magical lineage. If the DEVs' RAI is that the trait can be used with level 0 spells, the above wording would make it RAW.

It would make it it impossible to make the total adjusted spell level lower than the original spell. This is already included in the current wording. It is whether or not the DEV's intent was to include or not include level 0 spells as eligible spells to be chosen with the trait that the rewording would make it clearly evident whether you can choose a level 0 spell or not (as there would no longer be a debate by players who do not have the authority to make an official ruling regarding if you can or can not choose a level 0 spell due to the spell becoming a -1 spell to make use of the trait).

The reason for an official ruling is due to if the DEV allow a virtual -1 spell or not.

If they rule NO, then as currently worded you cannot choose a cantrip/orison/knack (as many people are currently under the impression you can - and many of the posts have revealed they have misread the trait as reading 'lowering the total modified level by 1' instead of what it actually states 'treat the spell's actual level as 1 lower'.

If they rule YES, then the answer/topic will no longer be a 5+ year long debate between the two camps of players. The camp that think you can choose the camp are of the opinion that a spell can have a virtual level of -1 (though some/many of them are probably unaware that their stance of allowing the trait to be applied to level 0 spells means they are saying a virtual spell level of -1 is legal. The other camp are the people who believe that you can not make a spell's level lower than 0 (including virtual spell level).

Please flag this thread for the FAQ so we can finally get an official ruling instead of adding more years to the unofficial debate of players who knowingly or not are debating over the legality of a spell being able to have a virtual spell level of -1.


Ferious Thune wrote:

There is an FAQ on part of this. As James mentions, you can't lower a spell's level lower than its original level.

LINK

FAQ wrote:

Magical Lineage (trait): Can I use this trait to adjust a spell's effective level below the unmodified spell's original level?

No. For example, it won't allow you to alter a wizard's fireball into 2nd-level spell.

You can't end up with a level -1 spell, because you can't reduce the level below that of the original spell, which in this case is 0.

Nothing explicitly says you can use it on a 0-level spell, but there's no reason to think it functions differently on a 0 level spell than on any other spell. Pizza Lord provided a good explanation of how it would work.

The FAQ entry does not answer my query. I stated in my original post that this thread is NOT about making the modified level of the spell lower than spell level of the chosen spell.

Pizza Lord's explanation is not good, because it does not answer the question this thread is about (and why we need an official ruling): is having a virtual spell level of -1 legal? If it is then you can choose a level 0 spell with magical lineage. If is not legal, then you cannot choose a level 0 spell with magical lineage.


Okay, a better way to make it clear why an official response is needed....

Is it legal for a spell to have a virtual spell level of negative one (-1st)?

The official answer to the above will determine whether or not a level 0 spell can be legally chosen as the spell chosen with the magical lineage trait.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

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Amiros Valeri wrote:
It does NOT say to reduce the modified spell level by 1 level.

It actually does, according to Devs. You are reading too much into the actual words, which is something that no end of designers/developers saying essentially “don’t do that.”


I don't see what the problem is. Magical Lineage doesn't do anything until metamagic has already added at least one level to the spell, at which point if reduces the number of levels added by the metamagic.

If you select magical lineage daze, daze is a level 0 spell if you cast it by itself, but if you decide to cast a dazing daze it's a level 2 (3-1 =2) spell. If you cast a piercing daze to get around SR, it's a level 0 spell. If you cast a Tenebrous Daze, it's still a level 0 spell because that metamatic doesn't add a spell level.

At no point can you cast a -1 level spell, but the subtraction doesn't actually happen until the spell level is at least one. It's not really an issue of "a -1 level spell happens briefly because addition is commutative" because this is an algorithm, not a single equation.

Scarab Sages

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Amiros Valeri wrote:
Ferious Thune wrote:

There is an FAQ on part of this. As James mentions, you can't lower a spell's level lower than its original level.

LINK

FAQ wrote:

Magical Lineage (trait): Can I use this trait to adjust a spell's effective level below the unmodified spell's original level?

No. For example, it won't allow you to alter a wizard's fireball into 2nd-level spell.

You can't end up with a level -1 spell, because you can't reduce the level below that of the original spell, which in this case is 0.

Nothing explicitly says you can use it on a 0-level spell, but there's no reason to think it functions differently on a 0 level spell than on any other spell. Pizza Lord provided a good explanation of how it would work.

The FAQ entry does not answer my query. I stated in my original post that this thread is NOT about making the modified level of the spell lower than spell level of the chosen spell.

Pizza Lord's explanation is not good, because it does not answer the question this thread is about (and why we need an official ruling): is having a virtual spell level of -1 legal? If it is then you can choose a level 0 spell with magical lineage. If is not legal, then you cannot choose a level 0 spell with magical lineage.

You replied to my message quoting the FAQ stating that Magical Lineage cannot reduce a spell below its original level and asked if Magical Lineage can reduce a spell below its original level.


No it's not because it's never a -1 spell. It has to have a +1 or greater level applied to it before it lowers the original spell level. So its not 0-1+1 its 0+1-1.


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What combination of level 0 spell, magical lineage, and metamagic would have a -1 level spell exist even briefly?

The trait says "when you apply metamagic feats to this spell that add at least 1 level to the spell" so metamagic has already increased the level of the spell as a precondition to Magical lineage doing anything.

Step 1: Note the level of the spell, call it n
Step 2: Note the level the metamagic adds, call it m.
Step 3: If m>0 reduce m+n by 1.


His thought is that since lineage says lower the spell's original level by one the spell becomes a 0-1 or a -1 level spells for the 0.00000000000000000000000000000001 nanoseconds before the metamagic kicks in and makes it a 0 level again.


So the math of what you are saying is;
(Spell lvl - 1) + metamagic adj.
If spell = 0 and you cant have a -1 spell lvl then sl 0 -1 = 0 +1 metamagic = 1

The vast majority of people go
Sl 0 + 1 metamagic -1 ml = 0.


intensified acid splash is a 1st level spell.
Since you have the trait you treat it as one lower, a 0 level spell.
there's no problem.


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I find this so funny.

OP: "Is this an issue? I think it might be."
EVERYONE: "No it's not an issue."
OP: "I think everyone is wrong and it is an issue."

Like were you just hoping/expecting everyone to agree with you to support you against someone that is using this?

Scarab Sages

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The spell never becomes one less. It's treated as one less. And there's no order of operation when applying the adjustments. It's clear how this is supposed to work. There's no need for the design team to spend any time arguing semantics when they've already addressed the question. If you don't want to allow a level 0 spell to use Magical Lineage in your game, then don't allow it.


Amiros Valeri wrote:
Pizza Lord: You are misreading the trait. It specifically states you treat the actual level of the (UNMODIFIED) spell as 1 lower.

That is not what it says, specifically or otherwise.

Magical Lineage wrote:
Benefit: Pick one spell when you choose this trait. When you apply metamagic feats to this spell that add at least 1 level to the spell, treat its actual level as 1 lower for determining the spell’s final adjusted level.

What it specifically says, is that it reduces the final adjustment (the modified spell level) by 1.

Maybe you are reading a different source. 'When you apply metamagic feats to this spell that add at least 1 level to the spell' means that if you don't add metamagic feats to this spell, this trait doesn't do anything. When you do add feats that increase the spell's level, you reduce the final adjusted level by one.

For example, Merciful Spell does not increase the spell level, so it does nothing. This trait doesn't trigger, the spell doesn't become -1. It stays at zero. There is no way, in any scenario involving this trait by itself, that any spell will become a level lower than normal. There is no issue here in regards to your original query. The trait works with 0-level spells, there is no problem.


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Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Hey there Folks,

Magical Lineage was never intended as a way for you to actually lower a spell's level. It was put in to allow you to reduce the increase from a metamagic feat. So, no unlimited magic missiles. I will see to it that the language of this ability is clarified soon and I will get this added to the FAQ.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

This is the closest you will probably get on the issue, it is not a means to lower the level it never lowers the level it just reduces the cost.


PossibleCabbage wrote:

What combination of level 0 spell, magical lineage, and metamagic would have a -1 level spell exist even briefly?

The trait says "when you apply metamagic feats to this spell that add at least 1 level to the spell" so metamagic has already increased the level of the spell as a precondition to Magical lineage doing anything.

Step 1: Note the level of the spell, call it n
Step 2: Note the level the metamagic adds, call it m.
Step 3: If m>0 reduce m+n by 1.

Kindly do not quote only part of the sentence from the trait (which would make your post seem correct, when it is not).

Again, unmodified sentence from the trait:

"When you apply metamagic feats to this spell that add at least 1 level to the spell, treat its actual level as 1 lower for determining the spell's final adjusted level."

Yes, you have to add at least one metamagic feat that adds at least 1 level. When you do so, you treat the actual level [of the unmodified spell] as 1 lower BEFORE you add the modifiers from the metamagic feats.


Amiros Valeri wrote:
Talonhawke wrote:
No it's not because it's never a -1 spell. It has to have a +1 or greater level applied to it before it lowers the original spell level. So its not 0-1+1 its 0+1-1.

When you apply metamagic feats to this spell that add at least 1 level to the spell, treat its ACTUAL level as 1 lower for determining the spell's final adjusted level.

The use of the word "level" when talking about metamagic is used very inconsistently.

What is the actual level of a spell? Well that depends from what perspective you are asking from. So when they say 'actual level', what actual level are we talking about? (see this FAQ). Are we talking about the level to determine the saving throw DC? Or range? Or are we talking about concentration DC? Or spell slot it consumes?

With magical lineage we are obviously talking about what spell slot it consumes as the most important factor to your question (though it also effects concentration DC). So a silent light spell is spell slot 1. Magical lineage reduces that back to 0).

Given the already fairly loose usage of the word level, don't read to much into the words "actual level" to mean anything more than the "level" of the spell from its current context.


"treat as" != "is"

The trait works fine on Cantrips, etc. The original spell level is never reduced, it is only "treated as" reduced for the singular purpose of computing the final level.


I think he does a poor job representing his view.
to be clear what his view is

A cantrip is a 0 level spell.
He believes that magical lineage trait works like this.
Take the spell, lower its level by 1, then add the metamagic increase.
this causes 0 to go to -1 then increase back up to 0. And since he thinks it was at one point treated as a -1 spell that it can't work.

Everyone tells him that you adjust the the final spell, reach guidance which is a 1st level spell, by 1 so it's now still a 0 level.

Scarab Sages

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The word "before" does not appear in the text of the trait anywhere.

Look, I get that this is for PFS (now, after seeing your thread over there), so you are worried about being 100% RAW accurate. But here's the deal... Not everything is 100% RAW accurate. GMs have to make interpretations. The decision you need to make when choosing to use an ability is, "Do I think that a GM will rule this illegal at the table?" Nobody responding in either thread has said that they would rule this illegal. You're creating an argument against yourself that nobody else agrees with, in order to prevent yourself from using an ability that everyone else believes you can use.

Maybe there's a slight chance that you might run into a GM who has looked at this issue to the same degree of minutiae that you have, and is stubborn enough to rule against you. I would hazard to guess that that is extremely unlikely to happen. But if that minute chance is enough that you don't want to risk taking this tactic, then don't do it.

Magical Lineage says to "Pick one spell when you choose this trait." It places no restrictions on what that spell is. So is it legal to select Magical Lineage for a 0-level spell? Yes. Your observations do nothing to counter that. Will Magical Lineage do anything for a 0-level spell? That's up to GM interpretation, which in this case, is pretty much unanimously, "Yes, as long as you are applying a +1 or higher Metamagic feat." You're the only dissenting opinion to that and aren't really gaining anything by continuing to argue it.

People are telling you they would not rule against using the trait with guidance. You can do so without any reasonable worry that someone will rule against you. Take the win.


Amiros Valeri wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

What combination of level 0 spell, magical lineage, and metamagic would have a -1 level spell exist even briefly?

The trait says "when you apply metamagic feats to this spell that add at least 1 level to the spell" so metamagic has already increased the level of the spell as a precondition to Magical lineage doing anything.

Step 1: Note the level of the spell, call it n
Step 2: Note the level the metamagic adds, call it m.
Step 3: If m>0 reduce m+n by 1.

Kindly do not quote only part of the sentence from the trait (which would make your post seem correct, when it is not).

Again, unmodified sentence from the trait:

"When you apply metamagic feats to this spell that add at least 1 level to the spell, treat its actual level as 1 lower for determining the spell's final adjusted level."

Yes, you have to add at least one metamagic feat that adds at least 1 level. When you do so, you treat the actual level [of the unmodified spell] as 1 lower BEFORE you add the modifiers from the metamagic feats.

Yes, you have to add at least one metamagic feat that adds at least 1 level. When you do so, you treat the actual level [of the unmodified spell] as 1 lower AS you add the modifiers from the metamagic feats.

Metamagic is done all at once so you do it as you add the modifiers. In fact based on your complete sentence that you want us to use, the metamagic would go first since the first word is When. As in when you do x do y as well. Which means you can't have -1 level until you have added at least one level.


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Considering how they've said repeatedly that the rules are written in a conversational, rather than legalistic style, if it's clear to almost everybody what spell level a dazing daze or a reach guidance would be with the appropriate magical lineage, this is not actually a problem with the rules. The game sort of assumes the people playing it are not actually being deliberately obtuse, and all sorts of things break when those involved are.

I'm not sure under what circumstances it would make sense to take magical lineage with a cantrip/orison/knack anyway. I think the lesson from the Whirlwind Attack Magus thread should be not to have endless arguments about how things nobody would actually want to do should work.

Scarab Sages

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Chess Pwn wrote:

I think he does a poor job representing his view.

to be clear what his view is

A cantrip is a 0 level spell.
He believes that magical lineage trait works like this.
Take the spell, lower its level by 1, then add the metamagic increase.
this causes 0 to go to -1 then increase back up to 0. And since he thinks it was at one point treated as a -1 spell that it can't work.

Everyone tells him that you adjust the the final spell, reach guidance which is a 1st level spell, by 1 so it's now still a 0 level.

Because he's inventing the idea of an intermediate "virtual" spell level, which doesn't exist in the game. He's also adding an order of operations and inserting the word "before" into the calculation, when it isn't there in the trait. The only thing that matters is the final level, after all of the adjustments.

Scarab Sages

PossibleCabbage wrote:

Considering how they've said repeatedly that the rules are written in a conversational, rather than legalistic style, if it's clear to almost everybody what spell level a dazing daze or a reach guidance would be with the appropriate magical lineage, this is not actually a problem with the rules. The game sort of assumes the people playing it are not actually being deliberately obtuse, and all sorts of things break when those involved are.

I'm not sure under what circumstances it would make sense to take magical lineage with a cantrip/orison/knack anyway. I think the lesson from the Whirlwind Attack Magus thread should be not to have endless arguments about how things nobody would actually want to do should work.

He does want to do it. He wants to put Reach Spell on guidance, so that he can use guidance without having to move on rounds when he doesn't do anything else with his standard. That part of the discussion is in a thread on the PFS board. So he's basically arguing against himself when no one is telling him that they would rule against that working just fine.


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That's a good point actually. One of the basic assumptions of the game is that all the mathematics involved in figuring out what the appropriate modifiers do not take place in real time in the game, they are an abstraction that is totaled outside of the game and implemented within.

Like if you swing your axe, there is not an instant where before your swing gets more reckless because of power attack, and comes slightly more under control with weapon focus, and becomes a little more accurate because the song the bard is singing inspires you, and then you become a little more unsteady because you are shaken.

You just do all the math before anything is actually done and implement the final result in the game.


Ferious Thune wrote:
Chess Pwn wrote:

I think he does a poor job representing his view.

to be clear what his view is

A cantrip is a 0 level spell.
He believes that magical lineage trait works like this.
Take the spell, lower its level by 1, then add the metamagic increase.
this causes 0 to go to -1 then increase back up to 0. And since he thinks it was at one point treated as a -1 spell that it can't work.

Everyone tells him that you adjust the the final spell, reach guidance which is a 1st level spell, by 1 so it's now still a 0 level.

Because he's inventing the idea of an intermediate "virtual" spell level, which doesn't exist in the game. He's also adding an order of operations and inserting the word "before" into the calculation, when it isn't there in the trait. The only thing that matters is the final level, after all of the adjustments.

I was the one that actually called it a 'virtual' reduction. Sorry. My point was that the spell is never really lowered to -1 so there isn't an issue. Although he is using the word 'virtual' his argument seems to conflate 'virtual' and 'real.'

Scarab Sages

He titled his other thread, "Can a spell have a virtual spell level of -1?" so that's why I assumed he invented the term. It appears not, but he has definitely latched onto it.


This is absolutely not an issue of order of operations or time or whatever, this is a question of what "actual level" means. The order and timing are wholly irrelevant.
OP seems to be of the opinion that "actual level" means the spell's original level without metamagic modifiers. So, that level is treated as -1. Whether there is a moment where the spell's level is actually -1 doesn't matter at all.
The other option is that "actual level" refers to the spell's adjusted level with metamagic already added in. So, Daze is level 0, Reaching Daze is level 1, the spell's actual level is 1, reduce that by 1 to level 0. But I think that's not really supported by the wording.

Ultimate Campaign wrote:
When you apply metamagic feats to this spell that add at least 1 level to the spell, treat its actual level as 1 lower for determining the spell’s final adjusted level.

"its" is referring to the chosen spell in this case which has a spell level of 0. Its level is then treated as -1.

So, I agree with OP on this. The spell's level without metamagic modifiers is treated as -1. I just don't think that's an issue. Its level is treated as negative, sure, but when it's cast, it's 0 which is fine.


Thanks, Nixitur.

Would you agree if they swapped out the word 'actual' with 'modified' in the sentence it would be better (and it would make it perfectly clear if their RAI includes being able to use the trait with level 0 spells.

Thanks for the input, everyone. Have a great day.

Scarab Sages

Solar Spell + Light has interesting interactions.


Murdock Mudeater wrote:
Solar Spell + Light has interesting interactions.

I don't want to take the thread off its main point, but in what way is Solar Spell + light an interesting interaction?

I just looked at the feat and it is puzzling to me. For one, 'Note: Spells that do not inflict damage do not benefit from this feat.' seem to indicate to me that Solar Spell metamagic doesn't affect light spells in any way since the spell is not damaging.

The other thing I find puzzling is:
'Level Increase: +1 (a solar spell uses up a spell slot two levels higher than the spell’s actual level.)'
This is D20PFSRD source, so most likely that's a typo or error, I don't know what the actual source says.

If you are referring to an interaction between a Magical Lineage (light) and casting a solar light spell, then either the metamagic does nothing to benefit the spell, in which case it doesn't increase the spell level (and therefore does not trigger with Magical Lineage) or it does count as 1 spell level higher (I am assuming it is supposed to be only 1 level increase based on power level and the notes on other tables), at which point Magical Lineage would make it 0-level (like normal) but would do absolutely nothing anyway. I don't see how that would work any differently from a normal light spell.


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Amiros Valeri wrote:
My question is: can you use magical lineage with a level 0 spell?

yes. FAQ needed? no.

Why? Metamagic at work: end level = [starting level + metamagic level]. Altering part of the equation doesn't alter the end result. [[starting level 0 -1] + metamagic level(min 1)] ends up with a valid result every time. The OP's mistake is focusing on one part and not looking at the formula as a whole. It's a -1 spell ONLY for "the spell’s final adjusted level", so it need not be a valid option outside of the equation.

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