Request for section on Spell Perception

Running the Game

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I would like to put in a request for subsection. This is not based on P2E playtest, where intrigue heavy campaigns have not come up, but on my regular pathfinder game I ran today.

I would like a subsection under perception, after detecting creatures, for detecting spells.

This needs to go through the four ways to detect a spell. I believe these are.

1. A spellcaster using a V, S or M component can be detected casting a spell. Explain how hard this is. How much does distance effect it? What about if your normal senses cannot detect them (eg S M spell cast in darkness). Please add a reference to Conceal Spell.

2. Manifestations. How do you adjudicate if a spell has a manifestation? How does this work if your normal sense cannot detect it (eg a thrown ball of acid in complete darkness). How do you know where it comes from? Can I indentify a spell from the manifestation, and is that an action? It is worth noting some manifestations go long enough someone might wander on the scene and see them - can they work out it is a spell, or what spell it is, and if so how?

3. Being affected. e.g. If a concealed, manifest free charm person spell is cast on me, it has an effect if I fail. Do I notice this? What about if I make the saving throw? Do I know I threw off a spell? Do I know what it was supposed to do?

4. Extra sensory perception. e.g. If I have continual detect magic (which some monsters do) and someone casts a spell, presumably even a manifestation-free effect cast from concealment (or distance) on someone else it will be detected. Is there a way to stop this? (This is the place where it might be okay to mention detect levels, and things like Nondetection, maybe?

This area in P1 is a poorly defined minefield where a lot of the way to discover how the rules work was by finding the feats that said they got rid of a problem you did not know you had! This doesn't need to be a large subsection, even explicit "is up to your GM to determine" would help.

What I'd love is a section where, when my players do something crazy, I can put my head in my hands and read through the section to see what the recommendations are.

Edit: there were previous discussion on the manifestation part of this, and on how they interact with invisibility. They asked for more in general, where I'm asking four a four stage parallel to the Detecting Creatures section.

Edit2: If spells had a "Manifestation" trait for perceivable manifestations, that'd be amazing.


Yes. This comes up a lot in my game, my players are stealth-oriented. I think lack of such rules is a big part of the perceived caster advantage in PF1.

Consider for example Comprehend Languages:

In order to cast Comprehend Languages, you have to hear someone talk the language. That means that in the tense first moments when you meet strangers you cannot communicate with, you cast an obvious spell - which can be taken as a hostile act, as they don't know the spell is harmless. How *do* you handle this?

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