|Sean Castor Venture-Agent, Virginia—Portsmouth aka Pogiforce|
For the ruling in question, it's this one.
Can I purchase spellcasting services at higher than the minimum caster level?
You may purchase spellcasting services at higher than minimum caster level if the spell appears on the prestige award list in the Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Guide. Spellcasting services for all other spells can only be purchased at minimum caster level. Spells purchased with Prestige Points are always at minimum caster level.
posted Mar 13, 2017
I got into a heated debate about this one with my GM after the game, because my third level character spent a prestige point for a Remove Disease, which then didn't work, and then I still ended up having to pay gold to get the disease removed or get marked dead. He mentioned this ruling as justification but initially neither of us could find it. Now that we've found it, I'd like to argue why this ruling is antithetical to the spirit of the game, and why it should be removed.
To home in on the key point here, it's the part of the ruling that states that any Spellcasting service purchased with prestige points is purchased at minimum caster level. However, any other spellcasting purchased you can pay more gold to hire a higher level caster. I think that spending prestige points should either guarantee success, or at least allow you to increase the caster level for things like Remove Disease and Remove Poison, also at a higher caster level. I don't think the prestige cost should be adjusted. And here's why.
In the case of my 3rd level character, he ended up spending nearly all the money he had earned from the scenario to stay alive. At low levels, that money lost hurts more than at higher levels because you're still trying to save up, or purchase essentials. You don't really have any surplus gold just lying around for such things. However, lower level characters especially seem to have more Prestige points available to them because most of the prestige costs eaten up later are in retraining, unfortunate deaths, and prestige awards. So a lower level PC may be better able to handle an unfortunate set back with a prestige cost than a gold cost.
But there's more to it than that. Prestige is a very finite resources that's hard to replace. whereas the amount of gold earned gets exponentially larger as you level, while spellcasting services remain about the same in cost. Prestige point gains however are largely uniform as you level, getting only 3 to 6 prestige per level. This makes it that much more of a precious resources as you go. Now while higher level characters here have the money to throw around to purchase spellcasting services, my attention here is on the respect given to Prestige Points as a resource. Being a very finite, precious resource, things that you spend prestige points on should be worth the point spent. In the case of magical healing, where your magical healing is at minimum caster level, it feels like a huge disrespect to that prestige and what you had to do to earn it when you get a third level caster who has to roll a 12 or better on the caster level check for say a Remove Disease, they fail, and that prestige point was effectively taken from you for nothing. You got zero for that prestige point. At higher levels too where the DCs of poisons and Diseases are typically higher, having that level 3 cleric casting spells for you is borderline useless.
Sure, higher level characters can fall back onto gold reserves, but lower level characters don't typically have that luxury. So when you pay prestige to cure a disease, fail, then still have to pay money to cure that disease or die, It feels like a punch in the gut. Like kicking a man while he's down. And these magical spellcasting services are pretty much the ONLY thing to spend prestige on that's available to those who have only the bare minimum of what they need to play.
Just my thoughts on the matter, and hoping to change a few minds about the subject.