Is telekinetic projectile supposed to be a ranged attack or a spell attack?


Rules Discussion


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

You hurl a loose, unattended object that is within range and that has 1 Bulk or less at the target. Make a ranged attack against the target.

Is that a mistake? Shouldn't it be a spell attack?


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Hard to tell. It does deal the most damage among the cantrips so having it be a ranged attack could be a balancing factor. On the other hand, its range is rather short and it doesn't have any debuff effect or persistent damage on crit.

Without having seen too much of the bestiary, I also feel that physical damage is more often resisted than most elemental damage types while also being somewhat rare as weakness. Those things make me think it should probalaby use a spell attack roll. Even if only for consistency.


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It's either:

1. Supposed to be a spell attack, or

2. Supposed to be a ranged attack, but is missing a description of what proficiency you use with it. Simple weapons? (Sorry, wizard.) You're trained in Telekinetic Projectile attacks specifically, and it never gets better? (So much for cantrips being useful throughout your career.) You use your spell proficiency, but your dex instead of casting attribute? (So much for simplicity in PF2, why didn't we just balance the damage around a normal spell roll?)

I think it's 1 and a real design mistake if its any version of 2.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Wanting to see what the answer to this one is
RAW, I see it as falling in a gap in that it is a Ranged Attack, but not in any particular weapon group so no proficiency:-(


Nah under spells it says that all spells use your spell attack unless they specifically say you need to use another action such as a strike.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
mindbane wrote:
Nah under spells it says that all spells use your spell attack unless they specifically say you need to use another action such as a strike.

Telekinetic Projectile specifically says “Make a ranged attack against the target” so it is not a spell attack


If they meant it to be a non magical attack then they still used the wrong wording.

Ranged attack is not the wording used for attacks with ranged weapons: ranged strike is.

Either way there is a typo here.

I agree with Xenocrat above. Ranged strike makes no sense when it is impossible to be proficient in it.


Matsu Kurisu wrote:

Wanting to see what the answer to this one is

RAW, I see it as falling in a gap in that it is a Ranged Attack, but not in any particular weapon group so no proficiency:-(

If it's meant to be ranged, IMO having it act as a club [if you do B damage] or or a dagger [if you do S or P damage] for Proficiency and Critical Specialization Effects works well enough.

Of course the easiest fix is of course to just make it a spell attack, but having it act as a weapon would give it a unique feel and could be an interesting pick up for multiclassing where the main class gets better weapon proficiency and a lower mental stat.


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Agreed. That is my preferred, however I only have PFS play available so have to see how it is ruled.
Hopefully there is one before my tables start playing PF2


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I for one am hoping it ends up a spell attack like all the rest.

Liberty's Edge

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Ravingdork wrote:
I for one am hoping it ends up a spell attack like all the rest.

I'd bet good money this will be the case.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
I for one am hoping it ends up a spell attack like all the rest.
I'd bet good money this will be the case.

It would be weird to have this singular exception.


This feels like a misstep when they transferred the spell from the playtest. I would definitively use Spell Atk for it.


Ramanujan wrote:
Ranged attack is not the wording used for attacks with ranged weapons: ranged strike is.

Not quite, STRIKE is a specific action. This isn't that action because the action is spellcasting, but a ranged attack and melee attack and spell attack are actually defined terms in their own right, and a spell with attack trait certainly can count as attack action.

IMHO, this type of spell is actually plausible to count as normal ranged attack, because it is propelling a physical object, so an ability which could deflect a physical ranged attack but not a magical attack could plausibly apply to this.

So the question is whether it should use DEX or Casting Stat. I don't know answer to that, but if desired a ranged attack roll could be modified to use your spell attack bonus (but still count as ranged attack).


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Reading more, I would say it is a Spell for proficiency and use dexterity as stat due to the spell wording


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Matsu Kurisu wrote:
Reading more, I would say it is a Spell for proficiency and use dexterity as stat due to the spell wording

I don't think that works, to be honest.

Spell Attack roles use proficiency and spellcasting ability modifier.

Similarly ranged attacks only use dex.

There isn't any way (that I can see at the moment) to switch the ability modifier around except for melee attacks and finesse.


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It works if they say in that particular spell it’s how it works.

What they actually wrote doesn’t work at all.


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Does anyone know how we we ever get any of this actually fixed? On most of these threads, we have conspicuous absence of anyone from Paizo stepping in with the answer. At first, you could say, "well, everyone's busy with GenCon," but that excuse is wearing thin....


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Bidmaron wrote:
Does anyone know how we we ever get any of this actually fixed? On most of these threads, we have conspicuous absence of anyone from Paizo stepping in with the answer. At first, you could say, "well, everyone's busy with GenCon," but that excuse is wearing thin....

I've seen paizo devs pop into a couple threads, although more to weigh in on opinion things rather than rules mechanics.

I'd give them a little more time, but yeah at least for me how willing the developers are to address problems is going to be a big part of whether or not I invest in the system going forward.

PF1's approach of one problem a week except the weeks they took off and an entire product line not receiving any support or clarification as a rule was one of the worst things about that system.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Voss wrote:
Matsu Kurisu wrote:
Reading more, I would say it is a Spell for proficiency and use dexterity as stat due to the spell wording

I don't think that works, to be honest.

Spell Attack roles use proficiency and spellcasting ability modifier.

Similarly ranged attacks only use dex.

There isn't any way (that I can see at the moment) to switch the ability modifier around except for melee attacks and finesse.

Pg 278

Ranged attack modifier = Dex mod + proficiency bonus + other bonuses - other penalties

So proficiency definitely applies.
Issue is whether the spell caster classes get proficiency in all their traditions spells (I think RAI) or only “spell attacks” (RAW that I can see)

I think it is a design oversight and they will fix it we they get around to FAQing stuff

Any table I can influence I will be pushing for Spell Attack proficiency applying to Telekinetic Projectile

Silver Crusade

swoosh wrote:

PF1's approach of one problem a week except the weeks they took off and an entire product line not receiving any support or clarification as a rule was one of the worst things about that system.

I wouldn't be surprised if they settle into that pattern eventually.

But I expect they're currently monitoring the boards a fair bit and plan to address the important concerns Real Soon Now (which may well still be 2-4 months from now)

At my tables, I'm using regular spell attack until I hear differently


Matsu Kurisu wrote:
Voss wrote:
Matsu Kurisu wrote:
Reading more, I would say it is a Spell for proficiency and use dexterity as stat due to the spell wording

I don't think that works, to be honest.

Spell Attack roles use proficiency and spellcasting ability modifier.

Similarly ranged attacks only use dex.

There isn't any way (that I can see at the moment) to switch the ability modifier around except for melee attacks and finesse.

Pg 278

Ranged attack modifier = Dex mod + proficiency bonus + other bonuses - other penalties

So proficiency definitely applies.

Obviously. I just meant 'only use dex' as opposed to spell attacks using wisdom, int or charisma depending on class.

The only options are that TK projectile uses spell attack + key ability or ranged attack + dex.

But no one is trained in 'tradition spells,' they are trained in spell attack and spell DC. So 'ranged attack' in this context doesn't make much sense, since it isn't a simple, martial, advanced or unarmed weapon, and that would need to be specified as well.


Appears to be awkward/incorrect wording in the spell description for Telekinetic Projectile.

Compare the wording for Produce Flame.

A small ball of flame appears in the palm of your hand, and you lash out with it either in melee or at range. Make a spell attack roll against your target's AC. This is normally a ranged attack, but you can also make a melee attack against a creature in your unarmed reach. On a success, you deal 1d4 fire damage plus your spellcasting ability modifier. On a critical success, the target takes double damage and 1d4 persistent fire damage.

In this description they use both the terms "spell attack roll" and "ranged attack". The meaning being more clear in that it states "Make a spell attack versus AC".

If the intent was to "make a ranged strike vs AC" then it's still poorly defined in that the "object" is undefined in terms of the proficiency required. A statement such as "make an unarmed ranged strike vs AC" would make more sense.

In the description/rules for Telekinetic Projectile, the rules for specificity fail, so the general rule applies. Use Spell Attack.

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Grand Lodge

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Spell Attacks, on page 305, seems to clarify it

page 305 wrote:


In rare cases, a spell might have you make some other type of attack, such as a weapon Strike. Such attacks use the normal rules and attack bonus for that type of attack.

It states terms like "weapon Strike" will be used. Also based on formatting rules,

Format of Rules Elements page 17 wrote:


The names of specific statistics, skills, feats, actions, and some other mechanical elements in Pathfinder are capitalized. This way, when you see the statement “a Strike targets Armor Class,” you know that both Strike and Armor Class are referring to rules.

Since range attack is not capitalized it does not a tie to specif action...so Spell Attack is used by default

This is my interpretation...not sure if it is right but until it is over ruled by a FAQ I am going with Spell Attack


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Based on the history of the spell, I think that ranged attack is intentional. Your proficiency with spell ranged attacks (as opposed to ranged spell attacks) just wasn't defined well in the CRB.

I expect this will come down to spell attack proficiency with Dex instead of spellcasting stat.


If telekinetic maneuver can use a spell roll I don't see why telekinetic strike can't.


The difference is in what the spell is affecting. For telekinetic maneuver, the spell affects your target. Hence, spell attack. For telekinetic projectile, the spell affects your ammunition, which you then throw. Hence, ranged attack.

Grand Lodge

Assuming it's a Spell Attack roll until we hear otherwise.


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I'm going with “Undefined function or variable” error for the roll.

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