Rules clarification on "Dispel Magic"


Magic Items


According to the playtest rulebook in order to dispel an effect I make a counteract check using the spell level as the counteract level, but if I go to pg 319,320, nothing in the entry or table tell be what dc I'm supposed to use in order to determine what they should be rolling against. I assume it is a spell roll against the spell/items spell dc but this isn't made clear.
How is this all supposed to work? I find the entire Counteracting Conditions entry unclear, obtuse, and confusing and could use some help, please.


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counteract wrote:
... against the DC of the target effect. ...

If the dispel magic level is higher than the level of the effect you dispel it automatically. If the dispel magic is the same or lower level make a dispel check at a cumulative -5 penalty for each level lower than the effect your dispel is. The DC is that of the effect.


Not to thread-Necro on this, but according to the way the rules are currently written, it's impossible to use Dispel Magic on a spell or magical effect of 8th Level or higher.

Dispel Magic is 3rd Level.

You cannot counteract anything that is 4 or more levels above you.

Being generous, that means you could dispel or counteract something that was a 7th level spell or magical effect, but not 8th or higher.

There's no heighten option for Dispel Magic, and no, say, 5th level Greater Dispel Magic...

So are we to assume that spellcasters are supposed to be waiting around with their high-level spell slots readied in order to spontaneously counter-spell? (which has its own problems)

Or was there some kind of error when these rules were written that forgot to take Dispel Magic in to account?

I ask because we literally just had this problem come up in our Doomsday Dawn adventure tonight, and all of us (seasoned game vets all) ended up scratching our heads as we tried to decipher the Dispel/Counteract rules.


jemstone wrote:

Not to thread-Necro on this, but according to the way the rules are currently written, it's impossible to use Dispel Magic on a spell or magical effect of 8th Level or higher.

Dispel Magic is 3rd Level.

You cannot counteract anything that is 4 or more levels above you.

Being generous, that means you could dispel or counteract something that was a 7th level spell or magical effect, but not 8th or higher.

There's no heighten option for Dispel Magic, and no, say, 5th level Greater Dispel Magic...

So are we to assume that spellcasters are supposed to be waiting around with their high-level spell slots readied in order to spontaneously counter-spell? (which has its own problems)

Or was there some kind of error when these rules were written that forgot to take Dispel Magic in to account?

I ask because we literally just had this problem come up in our Doomsday Dawn adventure tonight, and all of us (seasoned game vets all) ended up scratching our heads as we tried to decipher the Dispel/Counteract rules.

Preparing it in a higher level spell slot makes it count as a higher level. This is a general rule. Any spell can be made a higher level, it's just many don't have an additional effect beyond counting as higher level. And those spells don't have a heightened entry, that's only for when using a higher level slot directly changes the effects.

Same for spells like True Seeing, Shadow Siphon, and Globe of Invulnerability that attempt dispel checks in a similar manner.


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jemstone wrote:

Not to thread-Necro on this, but according to the way the rules are currently written, it's impossible to use Dispel Magic on a spell or magical effect of 8th Level or higher.

Dispel Magic is 3rd Level.

You cannot counteract anything that is 4 or more levels above you.

Being generous, that means you could dispel or counteract something that was a 7th level spell or magical effect, but not 8th or higher.

There's no heighten option for Dispel Magic, and no, say, 5th level Greater Dispel Magic...

So are we to assume that spellcasters are supposed to be waiting around with their high-level spell slots readied in order to spontaneously counter-spell? (which has its own problems)

Or was there some kind of error when these rules were written that forgot to take Dispel Magic in to account?

I ask because we literally just had this problem come up in our Doomsday Dawn adventure tonight, and all of us (seasoned game vets all) ended up scratching our heads as we tried to decipher the Dispel/Counteract rules.

Counteract in general is pretty simple once you get your head around it actually.

Both the dispeller and the dispellee have a counteract level. This works on the 1-10 spell level scale, not the 1-20 character level scale.

The counteract level of a spell is equal to the spell's level (Some spells like Shadow Siphon and Globe of Invulnerability specify that their counteract level is x levels higher or lower than the spell, but this will be clearly stated if it is the case). If it isn't a spell (Maybe a poison or a Ghast's paralysis or something) you cut the level of the item/creature/etc. in half and round up (Essentially the highest level spell a caster of that level could cast). (This is all assuming the effect or spell doesn't state itself as having a specific counteract level or spell level. That would take precedence. But I've seen very few examples of that.)

After determining the counteract levels of dispeller and dispellee you compare them. If the dispeller is higher level than the dispellee then the counteract is automatically successful.

If they are equal level then the dispeller makes a Spell Roll, with a DC equal to the DC of the spell or effect (generally the same DC as whatever saving throw was made against the effect. If it didn't involve a save then it is the spell DC of the caster, or their class DC if they don't cast.). If you meet or exceed the DC it is dispelled, if you fail it isn't.

If the dispeller is lower level than the dispellee, you still make the spell roll against the spell DC, but the spell roll takes a -5 penalty times the level difference. Unless the dispelee is 4 or more levels higher, then dispel automatically fails.

So it sounds like a lot but once you get familiar with determining the counteract level or something then it's a really easy matter of comparing the levels, auto success if the dispel is higher, spell roll (with penalties if applicable) against DC if equal or lower, auto fail if dispel is 4+ levels lower.


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I'm grateful that you were able to explain that, as four gamers who've been doing this for decades weren't able to suss it out.

Your explanation is clearer and makes more sense than what's in the book. It isn't written very clearly, and I say that because four of us in 30 minutes couldn't decipher what you just explained.

Thank you!


jemstone wrote:

I'm grateful that you were able to explain that, as four gamers who've been doing this for decades weren't able to suss it out.

Your explanation is clearer and makes more sense than what's in the book. It isn't written very clearly, and I say that because four of us in 30 minutes couldn't decipher what you just explained.

Thank you!

Lol no problem. It was fuzzy for me at first too until I noticed the simple way to remember how to work out counteract levels. XD

Something funny I heard about one of the Paizo streams, someone asked in the chat for a dev to explain Dispel rules to him like he was a 5 year old. The dev proceeded to do so and someone in the chat commented that their actual 5 year old son understood the explanation.

So apparently it was a good one. XD


Edge93 wrote:


Lol no problem. It was fuzzy for me at first too until I noticed the simple way to remember how to work out counteract levels. XD

Something funny I heard about one of the Paizo streams, someone asked in the chat for a dev to explain Dispel rules to him like he was a 5 year old. The dev proceeded to do so and someone in the chat commented that their actual 5 year old son understood the explanation.

So apparently it was a good one. XD

Yeah, I'm hoping that they'll clarify a lot of the language (and cut down on the cross-page reference loops) in the production version of PF2E. There are a lot of areas where the text is thick and impassable, and I say that as someone who used to play Rolemaster.

Thanks again for the help!


I think the dispel magic rules as presented in the playtest are a shining example of the poor presentation of the rules in the playtest.

In addition to not being easy to understand at first glance, the spell entry for dispel magic tells you to reference the page on dispelling magical effects for how it works. The page on dispelling magical effects literally says nothing on the issue except to tell you to reference the page on counteract checks. So to understand how one spell works you are sent to a page reference that only leads to another page reference.

Just miserably bad, and I hope they clean it up significantly in the final version.


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It's definitely one of the worst examples, maybe the worst. My runner up would be leap and high/long jump, plus anything that increases your leap distance.


Speaking of dispel magic, I can't seem to find something that Remove Curse does (counteracts a curse) that dispel magic doesn't already do (counteracts magic, which includes curses). In pf1, curse spells specifically stated that they can't be dispelled and needed Remove Curse (or restoration or what not).
Anyone?


Depends. I don't have the rules in front of me but if the curse has a duration of "Instantaneous" rather than "Permanent", then Dispel Magic can't fix it as there basically isn't an active thread of magic to unravel or something like that, the curse is self-sustaining at that point and needs more specialized magic.


morphail wrote:

Speaking of dispel magic, I can't seem to find something that Remove Curse does (counteracts a curse) that dispel magic doesn't already do (counteracts magic, which includes curses). In pf1, curse spells specifically stated that they can't be dispelled and needed Remove Curse (or restoration or what not).

Anyone?

That's a good question. Dispel magic says it works on SPELLS or items. Theoretically you could have a curse that isn't a spell though. The bestiary probably has a bunch.


I know mummy rot is one, it's a curse and disease but not a spell.


That's interesting. So dispel magic with upcasting covers almost all occasions while remove curse is very specific (mummy rot and maybe more monster non spell curses) and starts at 4th level. Someone on a previous thread offered that dispel magic should by a hightenable 1st level spell and a developer said they will think about it.

I kind of like the elegance of spells being so versatile but on the other hand in this case I find it over simplified and not so interesting. It's nice if some forms of magic are more sticky and persistent.
Maybe adding some rule to the "curse" tag like:

"effects with the Curse trait are difficult to get rid off and are considered one level higher in regards to counteracting and cannot be dispelled with Dispel Magic". May allow for stories of people going to great lengths to remove curses.


FWIW I think just one of those changes or the other would do it, doing both makes Remove Curse much harder to work with.

I like the raising counteract level idea, it makes it so it isn't impossible to use Dispel Magic on so you aren't screwed without a divine caster, but if you get cursed by something on-level or above level then you'll need to look beyond your party for a reliable cure.

I'd take that as more of a houserule though, makes curses kind of unusable at the party's level if you DON'T want them to be quite as much of a disruption.


Edge93 wrote:

FWIW I think just one of those changes or the other would do it, doing both makes Remove Curse much harder to work with.

I like the raising counteract level idea, it makes it so it isn't impossible to use Dispel Magic on so you aren't screwed without a divine caster, but if you get cursed by something on-level or above level then you'll need to look beyond your party for a reliable cure.

I'd take that as more of a houserule though, makes curses kind of unusable at the party's level if you DON'T want them to be quite as much of a disruption.

Oh I DO...


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I found it fairly easy rulewise, it just took a long time to understand the way it was written - until I found it a bit too good.
Has anyone considered lowering the automatical counteracting to Dispel level -2, and let people roll with bonuses instead?

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