Simple Request: Clarification On Spell Manifestations


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Ultimately I'm okay if enchantment magic isn't inherently somewhat subtle, even though that makes using it harder. Illusion magic, though, definitely needs to be subtle in some shape or form. If it's obvious that you're casting illusion magic, you're basically useless in combat. Everyone will just disbelieve everything you do.

An alternate solution that would still be in flavor for illusionists is that perhaps illusion magic can have a "false" manifestation, displaying itself as whatever kind of magic you're trying to make your spell look like. So if you are throwing an illusionary fireball, your casting bears virtually the same manifestation as an evocation spell, and if you are creating an illusionary monster or bridge, your casting bears virtually the same manifestation as a conjuration spell. Only someone highly trained in (Mysticism / Arcana / Occultism / whatever they are calling it now) should be able to tell the difference.


Deadmanwalking wrote:


I think the implications of magic actually get examined fairly well in a lot of Pathfinder stuff, personally.

Yes and no. I have seen a number of scenarios where the PCs are required to conduct some sort of social interaction and there are no safeguards against magical manipulation/trickeration. Not even Prot. spells against evil. You'd think at least one scenario would use Hallowed ground (obviously I haven't read/played them all).

Also think that like WotC, Paizo has to use a setting that works for game play and it would be counter-productive to make it as real as possible. Imagine what Zone of Truth could do for/to politics? Detect Lies? It's hard to imagine these things not fundamentally changing many aspects of life. But that doesn't help the game or make it more fun if means a setting that is too divorced from what people are familiar with in RL. Neuronin's excerpt from and AD&D splat book is entirely applicable when it comes to combining magic with human societies.

In any event, I've enjoyed the back and forth. Appreciate the civility. Unless you're interested in my responding to your last post, I'm fine with moving on.


Fuzzypaws wrote:
Ultimately I'm okay if enchantment magic isn't inherently somewhat subtle, even though that makes using it harder. Illusion magic, though, definitely needs to be subtle in some shape or form. If it's obvious that you're casting illusion magic, you're basically useless in combat. Everyone will just disbelieve everything you do.

Manifestations make it obvious you're casting. They don't make it obvious what you're casting unless you have Spellcraft and I don't want illusion spells being any difficult to recognize in the casting than anything else.

Most NPCs are not going to have Spellcraft, but chances are a social event/high security area would have a caster on hand to spot potentially inappropriate magic use.


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I'd just like to pop back in for a moment and thank everyone who's taken the time to comment on this subject. ^^ It seems clear to me that people have plenty of different opinions about manifestations and how they should or shouldn't be a part of the game... but it seems like most of you agree that PF2's rules on the subject, whatever they end up being, should be clearer the rules in PF1. ^^ Of course, the final decision is up to the developers - and, hopefully, all of your well-made points will be useful thoughts for them if they decide to consider this particular topic.


Ckorik wrote:
The FAQ didn't make manifestations a 'thing' they were always there - just almost no one read them correctly or understood what that the consequences of them were - because previously the 3.x rules had many options for hiding your casting and people tended to *assume* that casting a spell without any S,M, or V components was in fact hidden.

The FAQ represents the first time the word manifestation was used in this context and the mechanic through which Spellcraft worked was identified. It wasn't a matter of "reading correctly" it was a matter of Paizo having materially changed the way Spellcraft worked but not specifically identifying the mechanism by which it worked. This is self-evident because the FAQ exists which explicitly addressed the very question.

Yes, the existence of a visual indicator is the logical way to explain how Spellcraft works sans components, but Paizo needed to formally address this. Yes the FAQ stated the obvious to many of us, but prior to the FAQ, there was no official explanation.

Quote:
This doesn't say what you are trying to say it does - regardless doesn't mean *as like*.

Actually its says exactly what I think it means, but not what you think I'm trying to say.

The statement only talks about "obvious visual effects" but not audial or perceptual? Why is that? Because the statement is made in the context of the manifestations only being visual. There are certainly spells which produce audial effects, so why doesn't the FAQ say, "obvious visual or audial" or more generic perceptual? Because it wouldn't make sense for if you're only getting visual from manifestations.

Quote:
Artwork doesn't make official rules

Artwork doesn't make rules, but the FAQ does and the FAQ tells us one place to get examples. It would be irresponsible for Paizo to cite visual sources if there is a clear intention that all manifestations have an audial component.

Quote:
Incorrect - they are the mechanics - thus this thread.

Uh..no. The specifics of the visuals have no bearing on the mechanics. It is totally irrelevant what any individual player imagines their manifestations to look like. Mechanically, all manifestations are identical.


N N 959 wrote:
2Zak wrote:
The biggest factor here is availability. Would literally undetectable magic more easily available to everyone in Golarion than, say, short swords? I seriously doubt so.
My supposition is not dependent on the availability of magic. it hinges on the degree of fear such an option would create in a general population, in the hands of a limited few.

If it's literally undetectable and it's not widely available, how can it be so widely known that not only the average person fears it but also the upper classes are able to spend money developing countermeasures to it?

Also, who's to say, since this kind of mind control is impossible to detect, that what happens every time anyone tries to develop a protective nation-wide anti-mind-control system, whatever god or supernatural being who reigns over mind control magic (or who just wants people to be able to cast Detect Magic in markets withouth the guards being thrown at them) doesn't just mind control that person and makes them forget the idea forever?


My real problem with manifestations is with spell like abilities, not like wizards or sorcerers.

Having manifestations be game wide makes creatures like succubi (and paladins with detect evil) not really work as they should. I am ok with manifestations on spells and nothing for spell likes


Fuzzypaws wrote:
Ultimately I'm okay if enchantment magic isn't inherently somewhat subtle, even though that makes using it harder. Illusion magic, though, definitely needs to be subtle in some shape or form... An alternate solution that would still be in flavor for illusionists is that perhaps illusion magic can have a "false" manifestation, displaying itself as whatever kind of magic you're trying to make your spell look like... Only someone highly trained in (Mysticism / Arcana / Occultism / whatever they are calling it now) should be able to tell the difference.

Agreed, and IMHO implementation approach would be to increase the Spellcraft DC to ID these, with special rule that failing the (boosted) DC by 5+ gives the caster's desired 'false reading'. Stuff exists in P1E to do this, it just isn't standard approach, but I understand why it should be. (although not every Illusion school spell needs it, i.e. Mirror Image isn't really coy about what it is, right?)


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I think it would be neat if the developers addressed spell manifestation as something that casters think about at character creation and are given some different options for what that could be like. This avoids people from building characters that think that magic will universally work one way only to play in a game where it works differently and make casting characters more aware of what their characters are doing when they cast a spell and how it affects the game world.


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2Zak wrote:
If it's literally undetectable and it's not widely available, how can it be so widely known that not only the average person fears it but also the upper classes are able to spend money developing countermeasures to it?

Because unlike devils, demons, ghosts, werewolves, and vampires, whose existence was feared throughout much of Europe in the previous centuries (and maybe still in some parts), the existence of magic would be real. Societies would have experience with real Sorcerers since whenever the first Sorcerer existed. And news, especially bad news, travels fast and wide.

Quote:
Also, who's to say, since this kind of mind control is impossible to detect, that what happens every time anyone tries to develop a protective nation-wide anti-mind-control system, whatever god or supernatural being who reigns over mind control magic (or who just wants people to be able to cast Detect Magic in markets withouth the guards being thrown at them) doesn't just mind control that person and makes them forget the idea forever?

Not really understanding what you're asking.

Ultimately, this is about game play. How does undetectable casting affect gameplay? It's not about how it could work or be justified, it's about what makes the game fair and fun.

There's no right answer about how magic would affect our society, but ask yourselves what's the probability what we see in the game is what would really happen? Of course it's more about the degree than a binary assessment.


I don't think undetectable magic is fair or fun.


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My feelings are pretty straightforward - if the players can do it, so can the villains. And, as a serious question, how many of us want things like undetectable domination used on players at our tables?

(Even if it's the "smart" thing for a villain to do, my guess is that most players will not find it particularly fun to hand over their sheets on a regular basis.)


GM Rednal wrote:

My feelings are pretty straightforward - if the players can do it, so can the villains. And, as a serious question, how many of us want things like undetectable domination used on players at our tables?

(Even if it's the "smart" thing for a villain to do, my guess is that most players will not find it particularly fun to hand over their sheets on a regular basis.)

This.

Basically I, as a player, dont want to be told, in the middle of a social session, "Hand me your sheet. You're dominated. You dont know who did it, and none of the others know you're dominated."


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Add to that, class abilities. How noticeable is a clerics aura? A paladins aura of courage? Defensive spells that dont have obvious effects like blur or blink.


GM Rednal wrote:

My feelings are pretty straightforward - if the players can do it, so can the villains. And, as a serious question, how many of us want things like undetectable domination used on players at our tables?

(Even if it's the "smart" thing for a villain to do, my guess is that most players will not find it particularly fun to hand over their sheets on a regular basis.)

Undetectable Dominate would be bad. Difficult-to-detect Suggestion is pretty reasonable, though. That’s why I think it’s reasonable to have as metamagic, since you can’t use metamagic on really big-ticket spells like Dominate or summoning spells. And rather than undetectable, make it hard to spot.


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GM Rednal wrote:

My feelings are pretty straightforward - if the players can do it, so can the villains. And, as a serious question, how many of us want things like undetectable domination used on players at our tables?

(Even if it's the "smart" thing for a villain to do, my guess is that most players will not find it particularly fun to hand over their sheets on a regular basis.)

If your Villain is specced into undetectable casting, go for it. Not every fight has to be about punching people in the face till they die, sometimes you want to do a different style of fight. If they're built for being hard/undetectable , that means they're giving up other feats/etc that they could be using. As a DM, if you're constantly throwing this sort of thing at your players, you probably should expect to be lynched - and rightly so, it's not a "use constantly" thing.

Also, without the ability to hide manifestations, you're basically outlawing all spells in any non-dungeon crawl scenario in PFS, since there are plenty of times where you're a caster, with all sorts of spells you can cast, and are dropped into some situation where you can't cast anything since everyone will just see you doing it and it would ruin the point.

I'm not saying remove manifestations, just give a legit option to be able to hide your spellcasting via a feat/etc investment.

I want my spy to be able to cast SOMETHING while disguised without instantly losing the disguise because of magic sparkles floating around "random Guard #3" when he(I) casts detect magic to see if the vizier is buffed up and ready to fight or something. As it is, there is literally no way of being able to use the vast majority of spells without being instantly seen/noticed/detected/uncovered/etc.


QuidEst wrote:


Undetectable Dominate would be bad. Difficult-to-detect Suggestion is pretty reasonable, though.

Perhaps we are talking about two different things. I don't think they should change the rules for Spellcraft. It should require a roll and be trained-only.

But the consequence of manifestations is that any casting is detectable. If you're suggesting some spells should have a chance to be undetectable, why/how is that "reasonable?"

Again, in terms of game-play, why would you want NPCs and PCs to be able to use magic undetected in social situations?

The way this game goes, if you allow someone to a have a chance to cast undetected, then the game is naturally going to introduce tools to improve that chance, which is a path I don't think Paizo wants to go.

The other problem is related to my discussion with Deadmanwalking. Once you have undetectable casting, or some options for it, you make a normal society less plausible. You also have to start accounting for PCs using spells in social situations. Not a path I would go down and not one I would recommend for Paizo.


HWalsh wrote:
GM Rednal wrote:

My feelings are pretty straightforward - if the players can do it, so can the villains. And, as a serious question, how many of us want things like undetectable domination used on players at our tables?

(Even if it's the "smart" thing for a villain to do, my guess is that most players will not find it particularly fun to hand over their sheets on a regular basis.)

This.

Basically I, as a player, dont want to be told, in the middle of a social session, "Hand me your sheet. You're dominated. You dont know who did it, and none of the others know you're dominated."

Interesting, because for me, I would have the opposite reaction. I would be very interested and curious about why and who and how it happened. I would definitely be engaged in such an rp opportunity. No obviously if I spent multiple game sessions dominated, that would be sub-optimal, but having the side-quest of discovering that I was dominated, breaking it, and then figuring out the motive of whoever dominated me would be a fun rp opportunity I think.


Ninjamancer wrote:
. As it is, there is literally no way of being able to use the vast majority of spells without being instantly seen/noticed/detected/uncovered/etc.

Probably as it should be for game-play. Casters are already powerful/capable. Giving them the option to cast undetected would be over the top. Consider that martials can't cast GI. So while they might benefit from GI and get some attacks in:

1) They'd have to move after every attack, which means no iterative attacks;

2) As soon as they attack, their location is known;

3) Martials are generally not able to do a lot of non-attack actions i.e. buffs on other party members.

On the other hand, if you make manifestations non-obscurable via stealth, Inviso, at least the spells can be counter-spelled even if you can't see the caster, alternatively, readied actions can be used to disrupt the casting.

There are more point to add, but I think you get the idea.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
The Sideromancer wrote:
If only English hadn't lost its inflections. Then we could tell the subject by how the verb is conjugated.

I...hadn't thought about that. I'm not ESL, but my dad and all four grandparents spoke Spanish. I learned English from people to whom putting the subject directly into a sentence is totally optional.


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Well, it looks like the question has been partially answered in today's blog.

Link to Mark Seifter's clarifying comment.

There is a Conceal Spell metamagic that seems to replace(?) Silent and Still spell and conceal whatever spell manifestations happen during casting.


Thebazilly wrote:

Well, it looks like the question has been partially answered in today's blog.

Link to Mark Seifter's clarifying comment.

There is a Conceal Spell metamagic that seems to replace(?) Silent and Still spell and conceal whatever spell manifestations happen during casting.

Conceal Spell is a feat from Ultimate Intrigue. It has skill prereqs and gives people an automatic check to detect your casting.

In PFS, I've not come across this feat yet because it's in a splat book and has not caught on. I can imagine there are some locales where it is used more frequently.


N N 959 wrote:


Conceal Spell is a feat from Ultimate Intrigue. It has skill prereqs and gives people an automatic check to detect your casting.

In PFS, I've not come across this feat yet because it's in a splat book and has not caught on. I can imagine there are some locales where it is used more frequently.

Have we seen that feats have *any* prerequisites in PF2 other than character level? (And that some are specific class feats, ancestry feats, etc, of course)


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
N N 959 wrote:
QuidEst wrote:


Undetectable Dominate would be bad. Difficult-to-detect Suggestion is pretty reasonable, though.
Perhaps we are talking about two different things. I don't think they should change the rules for Spellcraft. It should require a roll and be trained-only.

Somewhat disagree. Require a roll, yes, but I could see basic low level spells are cast often enough that an average person has a shot at recognizing them (DC 10+spell level) if they aren't concealed, and might even have a low odds chance at recognizing a charm person spell after the fact.

Like you said, if a society has magic, society and general knowledge would likely adapt to account for it.

CWheezy wrote:

My real problem with manifestations is with spell like abilities, not like wizards or sorcerers.

Having manifestations be game wide makes creatures like succubi (and paladins with detect evil) not really work as they should. I am ok with manifestations on spells and nothing for spell likes

Spell-likes don't seem to exist in PF2. It'll be interesting to see how innate magic works.


Thebazilly wrote:

Well, it looks like the question has been partially answered in today's blog.

Link to Mark Seifter's clarifying comment.

There is a Conceal Spell metamagic that seems to replace(?) Silent and Still spell and conceal whatever spell manifestations happen during casting.

Partially answered, yes. We still need to know what the default manifestations are supposed to be, do they cast light, how bright, do they go invisible if the caster goes invisible, do they also/alternatively make noise a la transporter chimes, and so on. But at least they're saying up front that manifestations are a thing.


Another thing I'm wondering: is Conceal Spell going to be Wizards only, or do they just have earliest access to it, or did the Wizard blog just happen to be the earliest Conceal Spell was mentioned?


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Tectorman wrote:
Another thing I'm wondering: is Conceal Spell going to be Wizards only, or do they just have earliest access to it, or did the Wizard blog just happen to be the earliest Conceal Spell was mentioned?

I’d be surprised if Sorcerer didn’t get it, and I expect Bard will at least get an equivalent option to hide casting in performance.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

Agreed. Given their area of focus, I'd not be surprised if they got some version of it for free, like an ability to conceal a verbal-only spell inside a bardic song.

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