are supernatural abilities spells


Rules Questions


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so apparently this is a subject that needs to be asked for an faq

all it needs is a simple yes or no, are supernatural abilities spells


No.


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No.

Why would we need a FAQ response for this, I don't think I've ever seen confusion around it?


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also No.
The paragraph on Page 554 in the Core Rulebook addresses Supernatural Abilities.


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Supernatural abilities are not spells. An ability that gives +1 to DCs of your 'spells' would not work on supernatural abilities because of this.

However, they act like spells, apart from the listed exceptions (cannot be dispelled, not subject to counterspells, do not provoke AoO, spell resistance does not apply...)


A lot of the mechanics for how the function references spells, but if you're looking at things that specify they affect spells, it wont affect your SLAs.

In short, no they're not spells but they act like it often.


I'm assuming the question comes from the fact that sometimes, that's not true.
Augment Summoning specifically mentions summon spells, but has been FAQed to work with SLAs.

So ... No, they aren't - except when yes, they are ?

Not sure where the consensus landed, but I also remember some amount of wondering whether Elemental Focus would work for Kineticist and their SLAs.

And we do know SLAs can, in specific situations, fulfill prerequisites as if they were in fact spells (like dimension door SLAs and the Dimensional Dervish feat tree, for one).

Are these exemples the only exceptions, and if yes could get a list of those ? Or is it a broader rule ?

I can see why it wouldn't be as obvious as implied here, which is a sign of FAQ worthiness in my book.
Even though I'm with the "usually NO" people, it would be nice to have a clear and explicit answer.
If only so we don't have to go through this discussion on a regular basis.


Nyerkh wrote:

I'm assuming the question comes from the fact that sometimes, that's not true.

Augment Summoning specifically mentions summon spells, but has been FAQed to work with SLAs.

So ... No, they aren't - except when yes, they are ?

Not sure where the consensus landed, but I also remember some amount of wondering whether Elemental Focus would work for Kineticist and their SLAs.

And we do know SLAs can, in specific situations, fulfill prerequisites as if they were in fact spells (like dimension door SLAs and the Dimensional Dervish feat tree, for one).

Are these exemples the only exceptions, and if yes could get a list of those ? Or is it a broader rule ?

I can see why it wouldn't be as obvious as implied here, which is a sign of FAQ worthiness in my book.
Even though I'm with the "usually NO" people, it would be nice to have a clear and explicit answer.
If only so we don't have to go through this discussion on a regular basis.

SLA =/= supernatural ability.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

This question originally arose over in this thread.

There, the question raised was not the more generic one being discussed here about whether a supernatural ability counts as a spell (obviously, in the absence of anything specific to the contrary, it does not) but what qualities, if any, of polymorph spells would apply to a supernatural ability that is a polymorph effect that functions like some specific polymorph spell. Simply saying that a sentence about polymorph spells does not apply to other polymorph effects that are not spells is not so obviously true.


Argh. My bad, I absolutely misread the thing.
Don't I feel silly now.

Please ignore me and proceed.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

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The actual question they are wanting answered is:

For spell stacking rules, if a magical effect is not a spell it is exempt from stacking rules because a supernatural effect is magical but not a spell.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Lady-J. You will not get an answer, and you are wrong. I don’t even need a rule citation to demonstrate it, either.

The design team have said many times that the combined wisdom of the rules forum denizens is sufficient to answer all but the most confusing and contentious issues. This is not confusing (everyone else is in agreement) nor is it contentious (everyone else is in agreement).

To use my mother’s favourite saying: if one man calls you an ass, take no notice. If three men call you an ass, buy a saddle.


Supernatural abilities are not spells. Spell-like abilities are not spells.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

PossibleCabbage wrote:
Supernatural abilities are not spells. Spell-like abilities are not spells.

Both true statements.


i am well aware that supernatural abilities are not spells but james seems to think so and insists on things that are limiting spells and spells only will also apply to supernatural abilities, then says that if i want a definitive answer on the subject start an faq hence the faq question are supernatural abilities spells.

Grand Lodge

If folks want to see what the question should have been, I will leave the thread that spawned it here. Each person can decide how well the faq request represents that actual problem before clicking.

Link


This is *not* the question James suggested you should ask for a FAQ on...

You probably wanted to ask something along the lines of "can a creature effected by a polymorph effect benefit from non-spell size changes or polymorph effects (e.g. from Supernatural or Extraordinary abilities)".

It's also customary to cite any relevant rules, and to link to discussions showing that a faq response is necessary.

//EDIT: Removed something unnecessarily antagonistic.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Lady-J wrote:
i am well aware that supernatural abilities are not spells but james seems to think so and insists on things that are limiting spells and spells only will also apply to supernatural abilities, then says that if i want a definitive answer on the subject start an faq hence the faq question are supernatural abilities spells.

James does not believe that supernatural abilities are spells. To suggest otherwise is extremely disingenuous. The question in the thread title is so broad and generic that the only answer possible is “no”.

It’s a pity, because if the question had been “does a supernatural ability that functions like a particular spell interact with other effects in the same way the spell does (except in the ways all supernatural abilities differ from spells)? For example, does a supernatural ability that mimics a spell of the polymorph subschool prevent other polymorph effects (spell, (Sp), (Ex), or (Su)) on the target creature?” then I’d be all for FAQing it

What you seem to be trying to do is take the general rule “(Su) abilities are not spells” and apply that to the specific case of “does X always interact with Y the same regardless of spell, (Ex), (Sp), or (Su)?”

The position of most people is “yes, except in the ways spells always differ from supernatural abilities” (or, to put it another way, spell enlarge person and (Su) enlarge person interact with all other rules the same way except that (Su) enlarge person is “not subject to spell resistance and do[es] not function in areas where magic is suppressed or negated (such as an antimagic field). [Its] effect cannot be dispelled and is not subject to counterspells.”). Your position appears to be “the same ability functions completely differently depending on the type of ability, so the text of the ability has to sometimes be ignored”.


some rules implement limitations on spells and only spells in certain regards, there for the question is are supernatural abilities spells because some people seem to think they are but they are clearly not


No. Noone thinks that.

If you think that's what "some people" were saying you have read incorrectly or misinterpreted.


jbadams wrote:

No. Noone thinks that.

If you think that's what "some people" were saying you have read incorrectly or misinterpreted.

that is literally what most people in the other forum are arguing that you can not use x supernatural ability with y supernatural ability because in the rules it states you cant use x spell with y spell, meaning they think supernatural abilities are spells and are arguing that supernatural abilities are spells even tho they clearly are not spells


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No, they were saying that when one supernatural ability that functions as a spell (in this case a Transmutation (polymorph) spell). That it uses all the rules that spell includes, including the rules in the Transmutation (polymorph) section.

This is the truth because when you wildshape into an animal, your gear merges, you lose the ability to talk, and more. It also doesn't stack with all the same things that spell doesn't stack with, including other polymorph spells and spells that alter your size.

They are not saying Supernatural Abilities are spells, they are saying Supernatural abilities that function as spells follow all of the rules that spell follows, including ones in their spell type rules, like Polymorph, shadow, glamer, and more. This includes where they can and cannot work. If an ability stated "This doesn't stack with haste", if a supernatural ability gave you an effect that said "This functions as haste." It doesn't stack with them, even though the ability isn't haste, it functions as it for all intents and purposes.

What your question from the original thread should have been is "If I use a Polymorph effect like Beast Shape to take the shape of a creature the same size as me, does that count as a size increase for the purpose of Enlarge Person or the Size Stacking FAQ?"

As for my opinion on that discussion, this line plays an effect from the FAQ "As per the rules on size changes, size changes do not stack, so if you have multiple size changing effects (for instance an effect that increases your size by one step and another that increases your size by two steps), only the largest applies." Enlarge Person would work on someone shapeshifted into something the same size as them, as they overlap and not stack. Take the highest. If you were shapeshifted into a creature one size or more larger than yourself, Enlarge Person would do nothing.


TrinitysEnd wrote:
As for my opinion on that discussion, this line plays an effect from the FAQ "As per the rules on size changes, size changes do not stack, so if you have multiple size changing effects (for instance an effect that increases your size by one step and another that increases your size by two steps), only the largest applies." Enlarge Person would work on someone shapeshifted into something the same size as them, as they overlap and not stack. Take the highest. If you were shapeshifted into a creature one size or more larger than yourself, Enlarge Person would do nothing.

that's my stand on the subject as well, if medium size creature is under the effects of something and they remain medium size they are not under the effects of a size changing effect regardless of the ability used(same thing for other sized creatures remaining their size under the same circumstances)

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

Polymorph school has a rule wrote:
In addition, other spells that change your size have no effect on you while you are under the effects of a polymorph spell.

This would block Enlarge whether or not the polymorph changed your size.


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James Risner wrote:
Polymorph school has a rule wrote:
In addition, other spells that change your size have no effect on you while you are under the effects of a polymorph spell.
This would block Enlarge whether or not the polymorph changed your size.

Yes that would, but the problem I see there with that language is the fact that it does specifically call out spells. And is under a section called "Casting Spells" and the subsection "Spell Description." Both of which lead to no actual text saying to count Supernatural effects. Should it? I'd definitely agree. But, it doesn't.

The ability being talked about is Demonic Bulk, an Su ability from Abyssal Bloodrager, that states "At 4th level, when entering a bloodrage, you can choose to grow one size category larger than your base size (as enlarge person) even if you aren’t humanoid." So while Enlarge is blocked normally because it is a spell, Demonic Bulk isn't. If it were to be from the FAQ's blocking or Enlarge's block ("Multiple magical effects that increase size do not stack.") then it wouldn't work.

Something that says "This does not work on Humans" isn't blocked just because I am disguised as a Human and am actually an Elf. Just as entering an AMF doesn't stop a fighter from having his bravery, as it is an Ex and not an Su or Sp.

So, James, as you told Lady-J, if you want the rules to support that, you should start your own thread and FAQ it.

Grand Lodge

Special Ability act like spells. Supernatural abilities are special abilities that have a few acceptions about how they act.

Quote:

Special Abilities

A number of classes and creatures gain the use of special abilities, many of which function like spells.

And here are the exceptions to acting like spells.

Quote:
Supernatural Abilities: These can't be disrupted in combat and generally don't provoke attacks of opportunity. They aren't subject to spell resistance, counterspells, or dispel magic, and don't function in antimagic areas.

The special abilities text is above the other subheadings this applies them, thus they act like spells.


"many of which function like spells." does not mean All of which function like spells. "I have three friends, many of which like star wars" does not mean all three of my friends like star wars.


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Also, this is further shown by this line "Supernatural abilities are magical but not spell-like." Which is under Supernatural Abilities in the glossary.

Grand Lodge

TrinitysEnd wrote:
"many of which function like spells." does not mean All of which function like spells. "I have three friends, many of which like star wars" does not mean all three of my friends like star wars.

Perfect! So we need a test to know when a supernatural ability "functions like a spell". This is the logical next step in your rationale. So answer this, if a supernatural ability references a spell is not like a spell?

The simplest way to know if a supernatural ability is like spell is if it references a spell, it than has to be like the spell that it references which beastshape and enlarge person are.

Grand Lodge

TrinitysEnd wrote:
Also, this is further shown by this line "Supernatural abilities are magical but not spell-like." Which is under Supernatural Abilities in the glossary.

The hyphen's primary function is the formation of certain compound terms.

Spell-like is different than spell like. The former is a single term that references the spell-like abilities. The latter is a none preposition that means to be similar to a spell.


Yeah, I'd say that a Bloodrager's "Abyssal Bulk" functions as a spell, since the text explicitly says "as Enlarge Person". So it would not combine with Wild Shape which says "This ability functions like the beast shape I".

Now the Kineticist's "Kinetic Form", which changes your size but doesn't give any of the benefits of Enlarge Person (so doesn't reference it) seems to be a different case. Since Kinetic Form doesn't actually change your body, it just makes a bunch of rocks (or whatever) orbit you in the shape of a person, that seems like a thing you should be able to do while wildshaped.


TrinitysEnd wrote:
The ability being talked about is Demonic Bulk, an Su ability from Abyssal Bloodrager, that states "At 4th level, when entering a bloodrage, you can choose to grow one size category larger than your base size (as enlarge person) even if you aren’t humanoid." So while Enlarge is blocked normally because it is a spell, Demonic Bulk isn't.

You said it yourself: demonic bulk explicitly acts as the spell enlarge person. This means that unless otherwise stated, it follows all the rules for an enlarge person spell: the Str bonus, the Dex penalty, the impact on gear, and of course, the interactions with polymorph effects.

The rules for supernatural abilities lay out the specific exceptions to this:

Supernatural Abilities wrote:
These can't be disrupted in combat and generally don't provoke attacks of opportunity. They aren't subject to spell resistance, counterspells, or dispel magic

But other than that, if it works as the spell, it works as the spell.

Would you really assert that all of the rules for spells of certain subschools just vanish when the spell is duplicated by a supernatural ability? "Lead sheeting or magical protection blocks a scrying spell," so could a supernatural ability that works as scrying just look through lead sheeting like it's paper?

Or how about a supernatural ability that works as summon monster? The summoning subschool rules say that "when the spell that summoned a creature ends and the creature disappears, all the spells it has cast expire." But it wasn't summoned by a spell, so I guess its spells can just last all day. And wait, that's only if it disappears at all, which it doesn't, because the rules just say that "when the spell ends or is dispelled, a summoned creature is instantly sent back to where it came from." Nothing about what happens when a summoning supernatural ability ends, so I guess the creature just stays around forever. And of course, we've got a rule saying that "a creature or object brought into being or transported to your location by a conjuration spell cannot appear inside another creature or object," but nothing about supernatural abilities, so that summoned pony can just start sprouting directly out of the evil wizard's skull.

Or we could just acknowledge that when a supernatural ability works as a spell, it follows the restrictions of that spell unless otherwise specified. And some of those restrictions come from the rules for particular subschools.


Your implication is then that Supernatural Abilities are spells. As such, they can be modified by Metamagics, which we've gotten FAQs saying that Metamagics only apply to spells.

Also, if you read any of my posts, you wouldn't be saying "Would you really assert that all of the rules for spells of certain subschools just vanish when the spell is duplicated by a supernatural ability?" As here is a quote for you, from me:

TrinitysEnd wrote:

No, they were saying that when one supernatural ability that functions as a spell (in this case a Transmutation (polymorph) spell). That it uses all the rules that spell includes, including the rules in the Transmutation (polymorph) section.

This is the truth because when you wildshape into an animal, your gear merges, you lose the ability to talk, and more. It also doesn't stack with all the same things that spell doesn't stack with, including other polymorph spells and spells that alter your size.

What I am saying is that in any instance where the limitation is called out to be a spell, any use of an ability that isn't a spell, isn't effected. Or in "Computer Code" IF spell, then does not work with polymorph. Supernatural abilities are not spells. They can be like spells, but Dogs are like cats in that they are pets, but they are not felines. Supernatural abilities are like spells in that they are magic, but as we've been shown in the past "Spells" does not mean Spell-like Abilities or Supernatural abilities.

I am willing to say Demonic Bulk functions as to the point of being close enough. And in my opinion, the rules under Polymorph should say "In addition, other effects that change your size have no effect on you while you are under the effects of a polymorph spell or effect." But it specifically calls out spell.

I am 100% sure that Paizo agrees with the general consensus that this is what they mean, but by "RAW" Spell is spell, I cannot use a Supernatural ability or my SLAs to qualify for prestige classes that require spellcasting (unless it calls out my specific SLA individually). They also cannot be used with Metamagic feats or similar.

If that isn't clear enough: A Supernatural Ability isn't a spell. While it may emulate a spell, it isn't one. The restrictions of the ability it is emulating apply, but for the purpose of if it is or isn't a spell, it isn't. Otherwise several other abilities would work with them, and the wording for that FAQ doesn't call out Supernatural abilities but it does set a precedent:

FAQ wrote:

Metamagic: Can I use a metamagic feat to alter a spell-like ability?

No. Metamagic feats specifically only affect spells, not spell-like abilities. Also, spell-like abilities do not have spell slots, so you can't adjust the effective spell slot of a spell-like ability.

Bolded to show the relevant bit that SLAs, another Special Ability, is not a spell, and thus the abilities that work for spells doesn't work on them.

Grand Lodge

Wild shape does not say anything about gear. Beast shape says nothing about gear.

Wild armor exists.

The faq above was needed because spells and spell-like ability share so much in common. This faq is an example of a specific way they are different like every other specific instance is which they illustrate specific differences.

If two things are just different as you say why do the write so many specific statement about differences.

A cheese burger is different from a hamburger becuase of the addition of cheese.

A cheese burger is different than a airplane...how do finish this? Why would you write this sentence with two things that are completely different? It makes no sense to talk about the differences between two things that are not comparable.


The rulings for spell like abilities so far seem to treat spell-like abilities as spells only for fairly narrowly specified spells. For instance, if something effects summoning spells, it also effects summoning spell-like abilities. And if a spell like ability casts a specific spell, then you count as being able to cast that spell for other prerequisites, but not for casting spells of that level.

Summoning and polymorph are both subtypes of magic, so I’d expect something that effects polymorph spells to also effect polymorph spell-like abilities, as is done for summoning.


Wild Shape says use Beast Shape's rules. So we look at Beast Shape's rules. It states that it is a Transmutation (polymorph) spell. So that's part of Beast Shape's rules. As per the "Transitive Property" rule that is often used on the forums (When something gains the ability from something else, replace instances of it with the new thing: such as Kensai gaining Canny Defense) We then replace all instance of the thing, so "This spell" becomes "This supernatural ability." However, the property does not apply to thins not directly related to the thing, so the sentence "In addition, other spells that change your size have no effect on you while you are under the effects of a polymorph supernatural ability." Leaving that first spell alone. However, it does make "When you cast a polymorph spell that changes you into a creature of the animal, dragon, elemental, magical beast, plant, or vermin type, all of your gear melds into your body." into "When you use a polymorph supernatural ability that changes you into a creature of the animal, dragon, elemental, magical beast, plant, or vermin type, all of your gear melds into your body."

There are also no rules stating this is correct, but it is the generally accepted thing, otherwise Kensai and a number of other archetypes that borrow other classes' features wouldn't work. But it is clearly stated that these still function like the rules text unless exceptions are made (Like "You use your Charisma instead of your Intelligence modifier to calculate the DCs and effects of your Hexes"). You just replace the named instances of X class with the new class. Of course, no written rule for that, but that is the assumed thing.

So, yes, Wildshape has rules on how to handle it and gear, and Wild is the thing that allows your armor to still work, but it still merges (you just get the armor bonus). So Wildshape still includes that limitation stated above that spells that change your size don't work, but the problem is, not everything that changes your size is a Spell (and some are even Ex. You aren't going to tell me those are spells too now are you?).

So, is a Supernatural Ability a Spell? No. Is a Spell-like Ability a spell? Also no. Just because they are similar and alike, doesn't mean they are the same.

Furthermore, I used the example of Cat and Dog because they do bear similarities. They are both pets, people love to keep them as pets. Some are allergic to them, some aren't. They have a lot in common, but anyone saying a cat is a dog is going to get funny looks. You can even see here just how serious of a crime it is!


How could a supernatural ability ever be a polymorph effect since polymorph is a property listed under spells? Or maybe, simply being polymorph means that you have to treat it as a spell.


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TrinitysEnd wrote:
A Supernatural Ability isn't a spell. While it may emulate a spell, it isn't one. The restrictions of the ability it is emulating apply

Exactly. To be a bit more precise, the restrictions of the ability it is emulating apply as if it were that ability.

You don't get to say "Okay, all the restrictions of an enlarge person spell apply to demonic bulk. Hey, look! All of those restrictions start with 'if you cast an enlarge person spell', and it's not an enlarge person spell, so I guess it isn't restricted at all!"

Likewise, if the water sight oracle revelation works as scrying, it's subject to all restrictions that apply to scrying unless otherwise specified. You don't look at the restriction that lead sheeting blocks a scrying spell and conclude that it doesn't apply because the revelation isn't actually a scrying spell.

Let me break it down for you:
1. Unless otherwise specified, a supernatural ability that emulates a spell is subject to all restrictions that apply to the emulated spell.
2. Demonic bulk emulates enlarge person.
3. Having no effect on a target under a polymorph spell is a restriction that applies to enlarge person.
4. Therefore, having no effect on a target under a polymorph spell is a restriction that applies to demonic bulk.

At what point, exactly, do you disagree?


Melkiador wrote:
How could a supernatural ability ever be a polymorph effect since polymorph is a property listed under spells? Or maybe, simply being polymorph means that you have to treat it as a spell.

Just a general accepted thing that I personally agree with. Detect Magic would detect the aura. But it's argued, so I guess if you believe that Wildshape should be detectable (and show aura, as that is what Detect Magic is actually detecting, not magic) with magic then it should also have a type. Generally left up to the GM except in cases where it is spelled out (or you don't agree with that concept).

Avoron wrote:

Exactly. To be a bit more precise, the restrictions of the ability it is emulating apply as if it were that ability.

You don't get to say "Okay, all the restrictions of an enlarge person spell apply to demonic bulk. Hey, look! All of those restrictions start with 'if you cast an enlarge person spell', and it's not an enlarge person spell, so I guess it isn't restricted at all!"

Likewise, if the water sight oracle revelation works as scrying, it's subject to all restrictions that apply to scrying unless otherwise specified. You don't look at the restriction that lead sheeting blocks a scrying spell and conclude that it doesn't apply because the revelation isn't actually a scrying spell.

Let me break it down for you:
1. Unless otherwise specified, a supernatural ability that emulates a spell is subject to all restrictions that apply to the emulated spell.
2. Demonic bulk emulates enlarge person.
3. Having no effect on a target under a polymorph spell is a restriction that applies to enlarge person.
4. Therefore, having no effect on a target under a polymorph spell is a restriction that applies to demonic bulk.

At what point, exactly, do you disagree?

This is why I say Demonic Bulk is a bad example and I give you that it is close enough. Other examples that aren't based on a spell are:

Size Alteration (Sp) Transmutation Focus Power (Occultist), Kinetic Form (Sp) Universal Wild Talent (Kineticist), and likely more.

As shown by the Metamagic FAQ, SLAs are not spells. Both would technically work in a polymorph.

Now, to answer your question of where it breaks down.

1. Yes, I agree.
2. Yes I agree.
3. Applies to Enlarge Person the Spell, not because it is Enlarge person, but because it is a Spell.

The restriction is on spells, and do I agree that it should apply to all effects that change your size, such as Su and Sp abilities? Yes, but that isn't what the rules say.

This is what the rules of PF say:

If SPELL, then doesn't work while polymorphed to change size. If SP/SU ABILITY, then not a SPELL. If Demonic Bulk/Size Alteration/Kinetic Form are SU/SP/SP, then not a SPELL.

That is the problem I am seeing. And it's a very easy one to rectify in home games (which I already do), but it's technically not how the rules are. How I generally see it is: "It counts as a spell for whatever is worse for you." So not counting it for stacking and the likes, not working for Metamagic, and so on. However, that isn't what the rules say.

So, where I think we disagree is the fact that you and I agree on "It shouldn't work" but differ on "RAW does say it does." How often will this specific case come up? Gods, probably never? Most people generally do accept that it is the way you say, and I am one of them, but as someone who has to write a ton, read a ton, and understand English (Yay for useless degrees!), what is being said here is "Spell" and we've been told that Spell =/= SLA or Supernatural ability (if it did, I'd be able to Quicken my Su abilities as the FAQ only calls out SLAs, which uh... I think we are in agreement that I cannot).

Even your argument that "Because it functions as" allows that to happen, which is why I greatly disagree with what you are saying. If Su abilities are spells, it causes a lot of other problems. It is easier just to fix the one sentence and break nothing, then it is to change how an entire ability works and break a lot. Does that make sense?


Avoron wrote:
TrinitysEnd wrote:
The ability being talked about is Demonic Bulk, an Su ability from Abyssal Bloodrager, that states "At 4th level, when entering a bloodrage, you can choose to grow one size category larger than your base size (as enlarge person) even if you aren’t humanoid." So while Enlarge is blocked normally because it is a spell, Demonic Bulk isn't.

You said it yourself: demonic bulk explicitly acts as the spell enlarge person. This means that unless otherwise stated, it follows all the rules for an enlarge person spell: the Str bonus, the Dex penalty, the impact on gear, and of course, the interactions with polymorph effects.

going by that logic they would also provoke an attack of opportunity and be able to be dispelled because the actual spell enlarge person provokes and aoo and is dispellable


lets step into an analogy, lets say animals represent magical effects and dogs represent spells, and a golden retriever represents enlarge person, and lizards represent supernatural abilities, you have a lizard-bearded dragon which acts like a golden retriever its the bearded dragon a dog? answer is no its a freaking lizard


Lady-J wrote:
Avoron wrote:
TrinitysEnd wrote:
The ability being talked about is Demonic Bulk, an Su ability from Abyssal Bloodrager, that states "At 4th level, when entering a bloodrage, you can choose to grow one size category larger than your base size (as enlarge person) even if you aren’t humanoid." So while Enlarge is blocked normally because it is a spell, Demonic Bulk isn't.

You said it yourself: demonic bulk explicitly acts as the spell enlarge person. This means that unless otherwise stated, it follows all the rules for an enlarge person spell: the Str bonus, the Dex penalty, the impact on gear, and of course, the interactions with polymorph effects.

going by that logic they would also provoke an attack of opportunity and be able to be dispelled because the actual spell enlarge person provokes and aoo and is dispellable

No, because it is specifically stated not to by the rules of Supernatural, which is specific over general.

As for your analogy, I made a similar one, but it's not effective and has caused more confusion. Plus, it would be better to say something closer as the two function very similarly, but are still different. Like a Golden Lab and a Chocolate Lab (Now I am hungry...).


TrinitysEnd wrote:
Lady-J wrote:
going by that logic they would also provoke an attack of opportunity and be able to be dispelled because the actual spell enlarge person provokes and aoo and is dispellable
No, because it is specifically stated not to by the rules of Supernatural, which is specific over general.

This.

Lady-J wrote:
lets step into an analogy, lets say animals represent magical effects and dogs represent spells, and a golden retriever represents enlarge person, and lizards represent supernatural abilities, you have a lizard-bearded dragon which acts like a golden retriever its the bearded dragon a dog? answer is no its a freaking lizard

You're right, it's not a dog. But a whistle that calls all dogs will work on it, because it acts like a golden retriever and a golden retriever would be called by the whistle.

TrinitysEnd wrote:
If SPELL, then doesn't work while polymorphed to change size. If SP/SU ABILITY, then not a SPELL. If Demonic Bulk/Size Alteration/Kinetic Form are SU/SP/SP, then not a SPELL.

Except demonic bulk explicitly functions as an enlarge person spell for all purposes except for specifically stated exceptions. Just like how lead sheeting blocks a scrying spell, and the water sight revelation isn't a scrying spell, but it functions as one and thus is blocked by lead sheeting.

TrinitysEnd wrote:

Other examples that aren't based on a spell are:

Size Alteration (Sp) Transmutation Focus Power (Occultist), Kinetic Form (Sp) Universal Wild Talent (Kineticist), and likely more.

The size alteration focus power specifically states that it functions as enlarge person or reduce person, so the same logic as with demonic bulk would apply. Kinetic form's wording is more ambiguous, but it still falls clearly under the rule that, barring the specifically listed exceptions, "in all other ways, a spell-like ability functions just like a spell." Spells that change size don't work on polymorphed targets, kinetic form functions just like a spell that changes size, so kinetic form doesn't work on polymorphed targets.

TrinitysEnd wrote:
Spell =/= SLA or Supernatural ability (if it did, I'd be able to Quicken my Su abilities as the FAQ only calls out SLAs, which uh... I think we are in agreement that I cannot).

No, you really, really couldn't. Spells modified by a metamagic feat must use a spell slot of a higher level than normal, and supernatural abilities don't use spell slots in the first place.

TrinitysEnd wrote:
Even your argument that "Because it functions as" allows that to happen, which is why I greatly disagree with what you are saying. If Su abilities are spells, it causes a lot of other problems. It is easier just to fix the one sentence and break nothing, then it is to change how an entire ability works and break a lot. Does that make sense?

In general, supernatural abilities are not spells. That much is clear. But when a supernatural ability specifically states that it functions as a spell, it must follow all of the rules for that spell. The rules for supernatural abilities lay out specific exceptions to this: no distruption, no attacks of opportunity, no spell resistance, no counterspells, no dispelling. Apart from that, if it works as a spell, it works as a spell.

I'm not going to say it's obvious, because it obviously isn't. This disagreement alone shows that we could use clearer rules about what exactly an ability means when it says it functions as a particular spell, and what limitations that entails. And yeah, that line in the polymorph rules could be worded better as well. We have a blanket rule that "multiple magical effects that increase size do not stack," and there's no reason we couldn't have something similar for polymorph.

But no, changing one sentence doesn't fix the underlying problem. If they changed the sentence for polymorph stacking today, then tomorrow people would be saying that the water sight revelation isn't blocked by lead sheeting, and the next day they'd be saying that the battle companion blessing can summon ponies inside creatures' heads. We don't need a quick fix, we need a coherent set of guidelines for dealing with abilities that aren't spells but function as if they were.


Avoron wrote:
TrinitysEnd wrote:
Lady-J wrote:
going by that logic they would also provoke an attack of opportunity and be able to be dispelled because the actual spell enlarge person provokes and aoo and is dispellable
No, because it is specifically stated not to by the rules of Supernatural, which is specific over general.

This.

if something would be limited by the funtions of the spell in one aspect it would be so in all aspects so if it functions as the spell in the aspect of not stacking with things because its called out those spells dont stack they it would also need to function as a spell in regards to all other limitations of spells such as being dispellable, able to be counter spelled, provoking attacks of opportunity

Avoron wrote:
In general, supernatural abilities are not spells. That much is clear. But when a supernatural ability specifically states that it functions as a spell, it must follow all of the rules for that spell.

functioning as a spell does not make it a spell, if i put a piece of bread in a pan on a stove and toast it, the pan and stove are functioning as a toaster that does not make the pan and stove a toaster


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Avoron wrote:
TrinitysEnd wrote:
If SPELL, then doesn't work while polymorphed to change size. If SP/SU ABILITY, then not a SPELL. If Demonic Bulk/Size Alteration/Kinetic Form are SU/SP/SP, then not a SPELL.

Except demonic bulk explicitly functions as an enlarge person spell for all purposes except for specifically stated exceptions. Just like how lead sheeting blocks a scrying spell, and the water sight revelation isn't a scrying spell, but it functions as one and thus is blocked by lead sheeting.

TrinitysEnd wrote:

Other examples that aren't based on a spell are:

Size Alteration (Sp) Transmutation Focus Power (Occultist), Kinetic Form (Sp) Universal Wild Talent (Kineticist), and likely more.

The size alteration focus power specifically states that it functions as enlarge person or reduce person, so the same logic as with demonic bulk would apply. Kinetic form's wording is more ambiguous, but it still falls clearly under the rule that, barring the specifically listed exceptions, "in all other ways, a spell-like ability functions just like a spell." Spells that change size don't work on polymorphed targets, kinetic form...

I understand that, and I agree that it, though the Scrying could also do with fixing, though my suggested wording of an FAQ would be "If a Spell-like or Supernatural Ability functions as a Spell or functions using any of the Spell Schools (or subschools), it is treated as a spell for the purpose of things it can and cannot do according to the rules within the School and Subschool." Or "In the School and Subschool section of the Magic Chapter, change instances of spell with "spell or effect"." Either would really work as an FAQ answer. Not perfect wording of course, but it's good enough for a little bit of thought.

And so you are right about Size Alteration. I could of sworn I had my glasses on too... :P. Kinetic form is indeed ambiguous, and sorry if I don't necessarily trust the "Spell-like ability is a spell otherwise" line because we've been constantly told it isn't more than we've been told it is. And well, that whole contradictory mess could use cleaning as well.

And yes, this whole thing is.... kind of a mess. I'm glad that we've reached an understanding on that. And that well... A better FAQ question would be "When a Supernatural or other ability functions as another ability, what limitations are imposed on them? For example, Demonic Bulk (Abyssal Bloodrager) and Polymorph Size changes, Water Sight (Oracle Waves Revelation) and Lead Sheeting, and Mockingbird (Vigilante Talent) and Saves."

I added one more, because it annoys me. I'll let you take a gander at it: "The vigilante can mimic almost any sort of voice, or even animal calls and sound effects, and he can throw his voice at a distance. This functions similarly to a combination of the ghost sound, ventriloquism, and vocal alteration spells. A vigilante must be at least 5th level to choose this talent."

Does this allow a save? Cause the spells themselves do, but... It is an Ex, which suggests it is not magical and very real. The rules don't have any support for it not having a save, but having a save doesn't make sense either.


Lady-J wrote:
Avoron wrote:
TrinitysEnd wrote:
Lady-J wrote:
going by that logic they would also provoke an attack of opportunity and be able to be dispelled because the actual spell enlarge person provokes and aoo and is dispellable
No, because it is specifically stated not to by the rules of Supernatural, which is specific over general.

This.

if something would be limited by the funtions of the spell in one aspect it would be so in all aspects so if it functions as the spell in the aspect of not stacking with things because its called out those spells dont stack they it would also need to function as a spell in regards to all other limitations of spells such as being dispellable, able to be counter spelled, provoking attacks of opportunity

Avoron wrote:
In general, supernatural abilities are not spells. That much is clear. But when a supernatural ability specifically states that it functions as a spell, it must follow all of the rules for that spell.
functioning as a spell does not make it a spell, if i put a piece of bread in a pan on a stove and toast it, the pan and stove are functioning as a toaster that does not make the pan and stove a toaster

As I understand it, what is being said is that during the time the pan and stove is being used to toast bread, it can be called a toaster, as a Toaster is anything that can toast. However, outside the times that the pan and stove are being used to toast bread, it is more honest to call it a pan and stove. But can it toast bread? Yes. Is it always a toaster? No.


TrinitysEnd wrote:
Lady-J wrote:
Avoron wrote:
TrinitysEnd wrote:
Lady-J wrote:
going by that logic they would also provoke an attack of opportunity and be able to be dispelled because the actual spell enlarge person provokes and aoo and is dispellable
No, because it is specifically stated not to by the rules of Supernatural, which is specific over general.

This.

if something would be limited by the funtions of the spell in one aspect it would be so in all aspects so if it functions as the spell in the aspect of not stacking with things because its called out those spells dont stack they it would also need to function as a spell in regards to all other limitations of spells such as being dispellable, able to be counter spelled, provoking attacks of opportunity

Avoron wrote:
In general, supernatural abilities are not spells. That much is clear. But when a supernatural ability specifically states that it functions as a spell, it must follow all of the rules for that spell.
functioning as a spell does not make it a spell, if i put a piece of bread in a pan on a stove and toast it, the pan and stove are functioning as a toaster that does not make the pan and stove a toaster
As I understand it, what is being said is that during the time the pan and stove is being used to toast bread, it can be called a toaster, as a Toaster is anything that can toast. However, outside the times that the pan and stove are being used to toast bread, it is more honest to call it a pan and stove. But can it toast bread? Yes. Is it always a toaster? No.

no its not its a pan and stove, just because it toasts bread doesn't make it a toaster, a toaster is the little box with slots to put bread into a very specific item and if something is not that it is not a toaster

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I guess we truly need a FAQ on this. I’m not entirely sure why the points are getting mixed up. I’ll write up a good FAQ Monday.


James Risner wrote:
I guess we truly need a FAQ on this. I’m not entirely sure why the points are getting mixed up. I’ll write up a good FAQ Monday.

Thanks for doing that! Sorry if I seemed a bit at odds with you or anyone else. Just was trying to make what the issue was understood!

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