Feat spell clarifications


Running the Game


Hello everyone, I have a possibly naive question - understand that I'm not an original Pathfinder GM (D&D 5E mainly), so if it is obvious from that aspect (not sure it is) then you know why I don't know it.

I recently posted a request for Clarification on Reddit and got answers that line up with how I'm running the game currently. I use Herolab Online and their system doesn't match up with that, I assume they are likely correct but I was wondering if anyone had any official guidance to the following question: Do spell feats allow spontaneous casting or do they require preparation?

A specific example:

Druid - Call of the Wild
Feat 2
Traits: Druid
Level for Gaining new copies: 4th
Level for Effects: 4th

Your bond with nature allows you to call upon its servants to aid you in times of need. You can cast summon nature's ally by spending 1 Spell Point instead of using druid spell slots. This spell can be heightened to any level that you can cast, but if you cast it as the highest-level spell you can cast, it costs you 1 additional Spell Point. Increase your Spell Point pool by 2.

--

My assumption on reading this is that I can indeed cast this without having to 'take' the spell and memorize it. Is that so? When it speaks about heightening it, is that something that can be done arbitrarily? My ask on Reddit only got two applies, both that basically said that it should function independently of the spells and that it could be chosen to cast at any heightened level at casting.

When I contacted LoneWolf about HLO, they essentially said that 'The Summon Natures Ally' Spell must still be prepared in a given Prepared Spell Slot each Day that the Druid wishes to cast the Spell as nothing in the Class Feat notes that it changes how the Class Prepares Spells or gains access to Summon Nature's Ally, simply instead of expending the prepared Spell Slot the Druid spends the Spell Points appropriate to the level at which the Spell is prepared.

This does seem to make sense, but in reading through the guide and forums, I don't know if there is any OFFICIAL guidance related to this, or if this is something that is a given based on knowledge of PF1, or if this is something where there is no clarified wording and it is all RAI based on context.

Any advice?


It uses spell points. That means it is a power.


One potential case of precedent for being able to cast it without having to have the spell prepared is that Clerics use their channels to cast the heal spell, and do not have to have it prepared. There is the fact that for whatever reason, they chose to separate the channel slots from the Focus mechanics (Spell points mechanics)

I'd also point out, that it says that you can cast the spell without using a spell slot. The interpretation of it needing to prepare the spell, and just not losing the spell slot would be an interpretation that would be saying.

If you say must use a druid spell slot, but instead of consuming that slot, you pay the Spell Point(s) to keep your spell slot. I.e. if you require it to be prepared, you are specifically 'Requiring the use of a spell slot', you are just allowing it to remain available afterwards unlike normal spell casting.

For that reason, I think treating it as a spontaneous casting capability is the more consistent interpretation, since the other interpretation effectively requires the use of a spell slot (which the wording says you are capable of casting the spell without the use of a spell slot).

But it sounds to me like you are looking for an official answer. However, since the developers are focused on finalizing the actual second edition rules, I don't know that they are paying much attention to the old Playtest rules any longer, so you may not see an answer.

My advice is, if you play it like you feel makes the most sense. Until the actual second edition comes out, or we see a play example demonstrating whatever the final version might include based on this.


Thanks LoreGuard and Draco18s for the reply, I agree that if I do not get an official answer this will just be how I use, despite how it shows in HLO. My interpretation after reading it a few times last night comes to the same conclusion as Draco18s.

With that said, I can understand LoneWolf's position here. The wording is quite poor in differentiation between how Order Powers cast vs whether a spell cast by an Order Power is actually the Power itself. The rules seem to be written to say they are, but the clarification is not great. What I think is missing from Paizo’s side is that the spells cast by Powers, unless explicitly noted otherwise, are considered the Power themselves. In other words, when an order power casts a spell, it is casting a rebranded version of the spell which is now a Power Spell.

Example: “Call of the Wild” becomes the special spell which is essentially casting SNA differently. Because of that, it is indicated as a Power spell. The wording in druidic order saying that these are “special spell[s] tied to your order… called an order power”, note the term special spell. The order power is a spell *itself* and it then says “You cast this order power by spending 1 Spell Point”. Hence “Call of the Wild” is an order power and you are casting “Call of the Wild” with 1 spell point based on the “Powers” rule. You are not directly casting SNA.

If this were true the wording should say it, if it is not true - according to LoneWolf (and a valid point) it does not call it out in the feat!

I've added it below for anyone that cares:

--------
The Druidic Order chosen provides ORDER POWERS which use Spell Points and are treated like POWERS as defined in the SPELLS section of the book. Because it is a POWER and not a spell, it is automatically heightened and allows you to arbitrarily cast it at whatever level you want, this is per the book.

Because these are POWERS they do not act the same way as Prepared Spellcasting. The thought that these should be treated as prepared spells using the ruling (1) the class feat relies on the spell slot for the heightening level and preparation of the spell; and (2) Does not use it for casting source (expending), does not agree with the text as I see. The text specifically says you gain a special spell, called a power.

Here is the breakdown:

Relevant text, Druidic Orders (p80), it says FOUR important things:
1. “Upon becoming a druid, you align yourself with a druidic order, which grants you a class feat, an *order power*, and an additional signature skill…"
2. “You gain a pool of spell points. Your maximum number of spell points is equale to your key ability modifier. *You regain all your spell points when you prepare your spells (see Daily Preparation .. 192)”
3. “You also **gain a special spell** tied to your order, which is called an order **power**. You cast this order power by spending 1 Spell Point, not by using spell sots.”
4. “Your order power is **automatically heightened to the highest level of spell you can cast**”
5. “Some druid feats grant your more order powers”

This gives three arguments for using this as the written rule:

First argument
#4 on (p80) is super important here:
According to the argument for preparation, you must prepare it at the appropriate heightened level, but according to the book it is **automatically** heightened.
Additionally, the feat says “The spell can be heightened to any level that you can cast, but if you choose to cast it as the highest-level [it costs more sp]” In other words, you can cast it any level by sheer choice, since it is auto heightened and you can choose at what level to cast it. This 100% agrees with POWERS rules (p193)

Second argument
#3 and #5 specifically, you ‘gain a special spell’ - that wording doesn’t make sense if you have to take it and prepare it, since it is in the primal spell list whether you take the order or not. You gain more power through additional druid feats. #3 says you cast this ‘order power’ or ’special spell’ by using spell points, not spell slots.

Third argument
The fact that these are called ‘order powers’ puts them in a different class. Throughout the book there “Champion Powers”, “KI Powers”, “Bloodline Powers”, “Order Powers”, etc. and these are specifically treated different then prepared spells.

It’s possible that these were intended to provide special spells that weren't on a list normally, but that doesn't hold up throughout the book. It is clear that this is 100% referring to these spells you can use through feats of your class (in this case Druidic Order POWERS/feats that grant spells) which use spell points.

The method for how these act is defined on Powers (p193):
1. "You can’t prepare a power in a spell slot”
2. “Powers automatically use the highest level of a spell you can cast from the camass that gave you the powers” <— agrees with the description text of the Druidic Order Power - Call of the Wild

I've responded to them with that, but regardless of the stance I think this is the right interpretation, hopefully it is clarified in the production release.

-LimpingNinja

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