What is spontaneous about spontaneous spellcasting?


Rules Discussion


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

A friend just pointed out to me that there is no rule in P2E allowing spontaneous casters to cast lower level spells in higher level slots.

We both knew about heightened/signature spells, but I was under the impression that, even without it (as is the case with someone multiclassing into sorcerer for example), you could still use your higher level slots for lower level spells, they just wouldn't get the heighten benefits.

Is it really true that you must use the exact slot and, if so, I ask: What exactly is spontaneous about spontaneous spellcasting then?

Surely, it's just a mistake by ommission. If this was the intent of the developers, then I think I'm going to hop into the "spellcasters were overly nerfed" crowd.

Exo-Guardians

Is there a rule prohibiting it though? The closest thing i could find was this from the Sorcerer's "Spell Repertoire" description:
"You can cast any spell in your spell repertoire by using a spell slot of an appropriate spell level."
That's a bit ambiguous to me... what's "appropriate"?


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

Core Rulebook, page 299 under Heightened Spontaneous Spells:

If you’re a spontaneous spellcaster, you must know a spell at the specific level that you want to cast it in order to heighten it. You can add a spell to your spell repertoire at more than a single level so that you have more options when casting it. For example, if you added fireball to your repertoire as a 3rd-level spell and again as a 5th-level spell, you could cast it as a 3rd-level or a 5th-level spell; however, you couldn’t cast it as a 4th-level spell.

Why Paizo? :'C


Quote:
You can cast any spell in your spell repertoire by using a spell slot of an appropriate spell level.

It's not as explicit as I'd like, but based on the wording of spell repertoire and the description of Heightening for effect, I believe it is still possible to spend a higher level slot for an (unheightened) lower level spell.


Ravingdork wrote:

Core Rulebook, page 299 under Heightened Spontaneous Spells:

If you’re a spontaneous spellcaster, you must know a spell at the specific level that you want to cast it in order to heighten it. You can add a spell to your spell repertoire at more than a single level so that you have more options when casting it. For example, if you added fireball to your repertoire as a 3rd-level spell and again as a 5th-level spell, you could cast it as a 3rd-level or a 5th-level spell; however, you couldn’t cast it as a 4th-level spell.

Why Paizo? :'C

That's just a restatement of heightening. It does not stop you from spending a 4th level slot to cast fireball as a 3rd level spell.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I think you're reading your knowledge of PF1 into an imagined gap in the PF2 rules, when in reality something like that would be explained if it actually existed.


Saros Palanthios wrote:

Is there a rule prohibiting it though? The closest thing i could find was this from the Sorcerer's "Spell Repertoire" description:

"You can cast any spell in your spell repertoire by using a spell slot of an appropriate spell level."
That's a bit ambiguous to me... what's "appropriate"?

Appropriateness is culturally determined so expect table variation.


Gwaihir Scout wrote:
I think you're reading your knowledge of PF1 into an imagined gap in the PF2 rules, when in reality something like that would be explained if it actually existed.

Maybe. Maybe it was an accident of editing that an explicit explanation was left out. I'm just paying attention to how the explanations of Heightening are worded.

There are more straightforward ways to explain the concept of heightening if it not normally assumed that a spontaneous caster can cast any spell in their repertoire using a spell slot of equal or greater level.

Sovereign Court

CRB p. 299 wrote:

Heightened Spells

Both prepared and spontaneous spellcasters can cast a spell at a higher spell level than that listed for the spell. This is called heightening the spell. A prepared spellcaster can heighten a spell by preparing it in a higher-level slot than its normal spell level, while a spontaneous spellcaster can heighten a spell by casting it using a higher-level spell slot, so long as they know the spell at that level (see Heightened Spontaneous Spells below). When you heighten your spell, the spell’s level increases to match the higher level of the spell slot you’ve prepared it in or used to cast it. This is useful for any spell, because some effects, such as counteracting, depend on the spell’s level.

In addition, many spells have additional specific benefits when they are heightened, such as increased damage. These extra benefits are described at the end of the spell’s stat block. Some heightened entries specify one or more levels at which the spell must be prepared or cast to gain these extra advantages. Each of these heightened entries states specifically which aspects of the spell change at the given level. Read the heightened entry only for the spell level you’re using or preparing; if its benefits are meant to include any of the effects of a lower-level heightened entry, those benefits will be included in the entry.

Other heightened entries give a number after a plus sign, indicating that heightening grants extra advantages over multiple levels. The listed effect applies for every increment of levels by which the spell is heightened above its lowest spell level, and the benefit is cumulative. For example, fireball says “Heightened (+1) The damage increases by 2d6.” Because fireball deals 6d6 fire damage at 3rd level, a 4th-level fireball would deal 8d6 fire damage, a 5th-level spell would deal 10d6 fire damage, and so on.

Heightened Spontaneous Spells
If you’re a spontaneous spellcaster, you must know a spell at the specific level that you want to cast it in order to heighten it. You can add a spell to your spell repertoire at more than a single level so that you have more options when casting it. For example, if you added fireball to your repertoire as a 3rd-level spell and again as a 5th-level spell, you could cast it as a 3rd-level or a 5th-level spell; however, you couldn’t cast it as a 4th-level spell.

Many spontaneous spellcasting classes provide abilities like the signature spells class feature, which allows you to cast a limited number of spells as heightened versions even if you know the spell at only a single level.

Seems pretty clear to me, sorcerers cannot use higher level slots just because they ran out of lower level slots.


Ascalaphus wrote:
CRB p. 299 wrote:

Heightened Spells

Both prepared and spontaneous spellcasters can cast a spell at a higher spell level than that listed for the spell. This is called heightening the spell. A prepared spellcaster can heighten a spell by preparing it in a higher-level slot than its normal spell level, while a spontaneous spellcaster can heighten a spell by casting it using a higher-level spell slot, so long as they know the spell at that level (see Heightened Spontaneous Spells below). When you heighten your spell, the spell’s level increases to match the higher level of the spell slot you’ve prepared it in or used to cast it. This is useful for any spell, because some effects, such as counteracting, depend on the spell’s level.

In addition, many spells have additional specific benefits when they are heightened, such as increased damage. These extra benefits are described at the end of the spell’s stat block. Some heightened entries specify one or more levels at which the spell must be prepared or cast to gain these extra advantages. Each of these heightened entries states specifically which aspects of the spell change at the given level. Read the heightened entry only for the spell level you’re using or preparing; if its benefits are meant to include any of the effects of a lower-level heightened entry, those benefits will be included in the entry.

Other heightened entries give a number after a plus sign, indicating that heightening grants extra advantages over multiple levels. The listed effect applies for every increment of levels by which the spell is heightened above its lowest spell level, and the benefit is cumulative. For example, fireball says “Heightened (+1) The damage increases by 2d6.” Because fireball deals 6d6 fire damage at 3rd level, a 4th-level fireball would deal 8d6 fire damage, a 5th-level spell would deal 10d6 fire damage, and so on.

Heightened Spontaneous Spells

...

I would say its clear this is how it is intended. However, to the basics of the original question. Spontaneous is simply how they know their spells. IE not a spellbook. Spontaneous does not talk about how they use their spell slots. Your real question is, why don't they get to free heighten or fill higher level slots with lower level spells. Personally, I don't care. Sorcerer seems fine as is. Just takes planning, and retraining. Often.


Spontaneous casting is Laterally spontaneous, not Vertically spontaneous. It doesn't hold up in multiclassing, but the assumption is in versatility of the moment. If it's not a signature spell or you don't have that feature, like from multiclassing into sorcerer, are you really going to have Acid Arrow as a 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc spell in your repertoire? You only get 1 choice per spell level.

While you could do that, it means no other options for your 3rd or higher slots until you can take Breadth. That deprives you of any versatility for the sake of repetition.


"you must know a spell at the specific level that you want to cast it in order to heighten it."

Only says to heighten. I'd think (or least I'd allow) using a higher slot for juice to cast a lower level, non-heightened spell.


Barnabas Eckleworth III wrote:
I'd think (or least I'd allow) using a higher slot for juice to cast a lower level, non-heightened spell.

I hope that is RAI, as the sorcerer MC archetype would be quite limited otherwise.

It does not look good, though. The rules on heightening on page 299 in Chapter 7: Spells are pretty clear. The first paragraph is only about casting spells at a higher level without greater effects, and still precludes spontaneous casters from doing so. Only the second and third paragraphs go into heightening for greater effect.

And the part about Heightened Spontaneous Spells specifically prohibits a spontaneous caster who knows both the 3rd and 5th level version of fireball to cast it at 4th level. If the exception was that one can do it without higher damage/greater benefit, it would be mentioned there.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder Second Edition / Rules Discussion / What is spontaneous about spontaneous spellcasting? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.