What is spontaneous about spontaneous spellcasting?


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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"?


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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

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


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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

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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.


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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.


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"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.


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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.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I recall a developer chiming in on this either on these forums or on Reddit, saying that it was permitted to cast lower level spells in higher level slots, but now I can't seem to find it. Does anyone know what I'm talking about or where to find it?


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Ravingdork wrote:
I recall a developer chiming in on this either on these forums or on Reddit, saying that it was permitted to cast lower level spells in higher level slots, but now I can't seem to find it. Does anyone know what I'm talking about or where to find it?

I recall it too, but I can't remember where I saw or heard it. But it does seem to be coming up enough that it should be in a FAQ.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I recall what you were talking about. It was definitely a Reddit thread, not something here. I believe it was Jason Buhlman. I cannot give you a link.


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Found it on Reddit

JasonBuhlman wrote:
Yes you can.

Scarab Sages

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Red Metal wrote:

Found it on Reddit

JasonBuhlman wrote:
Yes you can.

We don't know if the OP was asking about spontaneous spells though. They could just as easily been asking about prepared casters only.

Until it gets an errata, I would assume that a spontaneous spellcaster cannot spend spell slots to cast spells they know the lower-level versions of (unless it's a signature spell).


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NECR0G1ANT wrote:
We don't know if the OP was asking about spontaneous spells though. They could just as easily been asking about prepared casters only.

On that same token, the repsonse doesn't say "only if you're a prepared caster" either.

Quote:
Until it gets an errata, I would assume that a spontaneous spellcaster cannot spend spell slots to cast spells they know the lower-level versions of (unless it's a signature spell).

Why though? There's literally no other comment anywhere on this subject. It's not the best source possible, but when the only answer anywhere in any of the material is 'yes' it seems weird to turn around and say "Okay I'm going to assume you meant no."

Grand Lodge

NECR0G1ANT wrote:
Red Metal wrote:

Found it on Reddit

JasonBuhlman wrote:
Yes you can.

We don't know if the OP was asking about spontaneous spells though. They could just as easily been asking about prepared casters only.

Until it gets an errata, I would assume that a spontaneous spellcaster cannot spend spell slots to cast spells they know the lower-level versions of (unless it's a signature spell).

If that's true then why would a prepared caster EVER use a high level slot for a low level spell? They can freely heighten any spell in their book/familiar/god to any level they have available, which is the benefit of a prepared caster.

I am still firmly in the camp of no here. The whole reason you have Signature spells is to do this and gain the benefits. It's breaking the game if you can use higher spell slots to gain effects of lower level spells without heightening them. Imagine if a high level Sorcerer casts a Level 4 Invis 8 times a day, but only knows it at level 4.

A lot of spells have no heightened effect, this ruling would only make spontaneous casters way more powerful.

If it gets FAQed or a designer explains why it works here on the official forums, then fine. But Reddit isn't really a good source even if they're vetted on the subreddit.

Liberty's Edge

You're asking for EVERY spell in your repertoire to be an upwardly heightenable Signature Spell. The net effect of this is that you would effectively increase your spells known by over double at 3rd level, and at level 20 they would effectively know 34 DIFFERENT spells that they can cast using a 9th level spell slot (even if you don't heighten the effects).

Stop it, you know what the rules mean, otherwise, there have over 2 full pages of text completely wasted in the CRB and APG detailing this feature and you have Sorcerers who can have a repertoire that even dwarfs the number of spells that a Wizard gets by leveling up.


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Themetricsystem wrote:

You're asking for EVERY spell in your repertoire to be an upwardlwy heightenable Signature Spell. The net effect of this is that you would effectively increase your spells known by over double at 3rd level, and at level 20 they would effectively know 34 DIFFERENT spells that they can cast using a 9th level spell slot (even if you don't heighten the effects).

Stop it, you know what the rules mean, otherwise, there have over 2 full pages of text completely wasted in the CRB and APG detailing this feature and you have Sorcerers who can have a repertoire that even dwarfs the number of spells that a Wizard gets by leveling up.

XD

Who are you kidding? No one said anything about free heightening or having more signature spells.

Who exactly are you reprimanding here?

Stop it, you know what the Lead Game Designer said, otherwise, the sorcerer class would be a complete waste of space in the CRB. ;P

whew wrote:
Heightened Spontaneous Spells CRB 299 wrote:
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.

We're not casting it as a 4th-level spell. We're casting it as a 3rd-level spell using a 4th-level spell slot. It's a subtle difference that changes everything.

Grand Lodge

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I would like to start by saying that I would absolutely allow in my games for lower level spells to be cast in higher level slots with no added benefit and I realize that Jason chimed with a "yes" on reddit.

That being said, I'm not so sure the language in the CRB supports it.

To put a spell in a higher slot without heightening it is impossible because that's exactly what heightening is. "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." bolded for emphasis. The act of putting a spell in a higher level slot is heightening the spell this just so happens to increase it's DC to counteract and in some cases increase its effectiveness.

Like I said, I wouldn't run it that way in my games but that's what the books says.

Grand Lodge

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Lets take a spell like True Strike, and lets say you're a level 8 Sorcerer. What you want is to be able to cast True Strike as a 1st level spell, using your 2nd, 3rd, and even 4th level spell slots, WITHOUT taking it as a signature spell. This effectively gives you up to 16 True Strikes a day, while also have your 4 signature spells and all the other spells in your Repertoire.

That's going to be a hard No from me dawg.

Liberty's Edge

Apologies if it came off a little rough, I honestly thought you were feigning ignorance here in an attempt to squeeze in an interesting question but I'll proceed from here assuming you just haven't thought this through yet.

So, here is a real and valid level 10 Sorcerer Repertoire where I have applied this interpretation to how Spell Slots can be used and noted all spells that can be used in a given Slot. This isn't even done on a PC I specifically made to abuse this which I'm sure is almost certainly possible by using an Arcane Bloodline.

Repertoire :

Sorcerer 1st-level Spells (4/day) - Disrupting Weapons, Heal, Pest Form, True Strike (Signature)

Sorcerer 2nd-level Spells (4/day) - Augury, Dispel Magic, Resist Energy (Signature), Spiritual Weapon
-From free upward heightening: Disrupting Weapons, Heal, Pest Form, True Strike

Sorcerer 3rd-level Spells (4/day) - Crisis of Faith, Heroism(Signature), Searing Light, Bind Undead
-From free upward heightening: Disrupting Weapons, Heal, Pest Form, True Strike | Augury, Dispel Magic, Resist Energy, Spiritual Weapon

Sorcerer 4th-level Spells (4/day) - Divine Wrath, Freedom of Movement, Holy Cascade, Spell Immunity (Signature)
-From free upward heightening: Disrupting Weapons, Heal, Pest Form, True Strike | Augury, Dispel Magic, Resist Energy, Spiritual Weapon | Crisis of Faith, Heroism, Searing Light, Bind Undead

Sorcerer 5th-level Spells (4/day) - Banishment, Breath of Life (Signature), Flame Strike, Shadow Blast
-From free upward heightening: Disrupting Weapons, Heal, Pest Form, True Strike | Augury, Dispel Magic, Resist Energy, Spiritual Weapon | Crisis of Faith, Heroism, Searing Light, Bind Undead | Divine Wrath, Freedom of Movement, Holy Cascade, Spell Immunity

I'm sorry, I gotta hit the gong on this one. This is an instance where "if it's too good..." and if you can't see that then... I dunno, just my 2 copper pieces here but as rule 0 says, it's your game so do what you will with it.


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Using a 5th level slot on a 1st level heal is such a waste of the spell slot. If that's what you really want to do, I'm not going to stop you. Yes, it opens up options, but those are desperate options.


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Have 16 True Strikes a day. What are you going to use them on? Cantrips? You only have so many polar rays.


Let me throw a real-game example from my campaign into this thread. My players will soon reach a section of Assault on Longshadow where they will need to run missions across the Hollow Hills in Nirmathis. The farther missions will require three days travel at 25-foot walking speed to reach the proper location and the same distance to return. And the party will be on a time limit to finish the missions before the Ironfang Legion invades the city of Longshadow.

I am the rules expert for my players, so I checked the mounts and spells available. They could buy horses, speed 40 feet. 6th-level Teleport is too high level and the wrong branch of magic for the primal casters in the party, who top out at 5th-level spells. Wind Walk is primal but 8th level. The best solution I could find is Phantom Steed. It has 2nd-level, 4th-level, 5th-level and 6th-level versions. The steeds from the 4th- and higher-level versions have speed 60.

However, the steed from a Phantom Steed spell will accept only one rider. Thus, to handle the entire 7-member party they will need to cast 7 Phantom Speed spells. No single caster has that many spell slots at a single level.

Suppose the druid wanted to summon seven 2nd-level phantom steeds for the day's travel. She has only 3 spell slots at 2nd level, so she would move on to the 3rd-level spell slots, and finally a 4th-level spell slot, which could have the 4th-level effect. The 3rd-level phantom steeds would have the same abilities as the 2nd-level phantom steeds. This is allowed, because the Heightened Spells rules say, "A prepared spellcaster can heighten a spell by preparing it in a higher-level slot than its normal spell level, ..."

Suppose a spontaneous caster wanted to summon seven 2nd-level phantom steeds for the day's travel. If he knew Phantom Steed as a non-signature 2nd-level spell, he could use the 2nd-level spell slots, but the 3rd-level spell slots would be off limits. Maybe, because the rules say, "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." The 3rd-level Phantom Steed is identical to the 2nd-level Phantom Steed, so would knowing the 2nd-level spell count as knowing the 3rd-level spell? Their only difference is a slot label.

In the Fireball example used in the rules a spontaneous caster has learned 3rd-level Fireball and 5th-level Fireball without signature, so he cannot cast 4th-level Fireball. In this case, 3rd-level Fireball deals 6d6 fire damage, 4th-level Fireball deals 8d6 fire damage, and 5th-level Fireball deals 10d6 fire damage, so the three versions of Fireball are not the same.

In practice, when I explained to my younger daughter why her fey-blooded sorcerer might want to cast many Phantom Steed spells, she decided to retroactively retrain her Signature 2nd-level spell Entangle (which has no heightened versions) to a Signature 2nd-level Phantom Steed. Her character recently reached 9th level, so she was allowed a free spell retraining.


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Thewms wrote:

...I'm not so sure the language in the CRB supports it.

To put a spell in a higher slot without heightening it is impossible because that's exactly what heightening is. "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." bolded for emphasis. The act of putting a spell in a higher level slot is heightening the spell this just so happens to increase it's DC to counteract and in some cases increase its effectiveness.

There are a few fair points being thrown around, but (respectfully) this isn't one of them.

We're not casting the spell at higher level. We're casting it at the same level using a higher level slot.

That's not heightening, which is what you're describing. You're using the bold text and circular logic to come to (what I believe to be) an incorrect conclusion.

Scarab Sages

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Ravingdork wrote:
Thewms wrote:

...I'm not so sure the language in the CRB supports it.

To put a spell in a higher slot without heightening it is impossible because that's exactly what heightening is. "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." bolded for emphasis. The act of putting a spell in a higher level slot is heightening the spell this just so happens to increase it's DC to counteract and in some cases increase its effectiveness.

There are a few fair points being thrown around, but (respectfully) this isn't one of them.

We're not casting the spell at higher level. We're casting it at the same level using a higher level slot.

That's not heightening, which is what you're describing. You're using the bold text and circular logic to come to (what I believe to be) an incorrect conclusion.

Are you asking if you can cast (for example) True Strike at a certain level without knowing it at that level in your spell repertoire or having it as a Signature Spell?

If so, then you're mistaken. If you only know a spell at a low level, then you can't expend a higher-level spell slot to cast it. You need to have it as a Signature Spell for that kind of flexibility.


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NECR0G1ANT wrote:
Are you asking if you can cast (for example) True Strike at a certain level without knowing it at that level in your spell repertoire or having it as a Signature Spell?

I am not.

I already have the answers I sought from the lead developer. I necro'd this thread only as a means of recalling where said developer comment was at, so that I could then show it to others elsewhere and persuade them of the error of their ways.

Scarab Sages

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Here's the entire exchange between the reddit OP and Jason Bulmahn:

JasonBuhlman wrote:
Darkluc wrote:
Can you cast a 1st level spell using a 2nd level slot without the benefits?]
Yes you can.

And here's the question that Ravingdork asked but did not receive an answer for:

JasonBuhlman wrote:
Jason, just to be clear, can you do this even if you're a spontaneous caster? For example, my 9th-level sorcerer knows fireball as a 3rd-level spell. It is NOT a signature spell for her. Could she cast it as a 3rd-level spell (without any of the benefits of heightening) by expending her 4th- and 5th-level spell slots?

I think Ravingdork is trying to persuade people Jason Bulmahn responded 'yes' to Ravingdork's question when in fact he didn't.

This wouldn't be the first time people took a designer's comments on reddit as RAW. Remember when we all though you could use DEX to Trip if you had a weapon with the finesse and trip traits?

For those of you who don't know, the Official Pathfinder FAQ and Errata is found here and not on Reddit.


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NECR0G1ANT wrote:
Remember when we all though you could use DEX to Trip if you had a weapon with the finesse and trip traits?

Right, and then the developers issued an errata changing the CRB to break that interaction.


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As far as I have been able to find in my searching on the matter, the rules text seems to fail to be any more explicit than the following statement when it comes to which spells you can choose when you select a spell slot to use in casting: "If you’re a spontaneous spellcaster—such as a bard or a sorcerer—you choose which spell you’re using a spell slot for at the moment you decide to cast it."

Yes, the rules do explicitly cover heightening a spell by spending a higher-level spell slot - but I can't find any explicit statement that heightening is the only way to cast a spell by using a higher-level spell slot that its native level, or even that the quoted statement above means to be saying "choose which spell [of the same level of the spell slot] you're using a spell slot for"

Personally, I don't see that as ambiguous because I believe the only reason someone would think it was possible to cast a spell at a particular level by spending a slot of a different (so long as higher) level of spell slot is to have prior experience with a system that explicitly stated that was an option - but I can see how and why other folks would view the situation as ambiguous because there is no clear answer to the question "Why can't I choose glitterdust (2nd level) to be the spell I'm using a 5th-level spell slot for?" or the like. Even "because they are not the same level" isn't actually backed up by the book explicitly.

So I'd say it's fine to engage the Ambiguous Rules portion of the book... though I expect table variance in whether that means the "too good to be true" portion or the "find something that works for your group" portion is the thing acted upon.


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NECR0G1ANT wrote:
Here's the entire exchange between the reddit OP and Jason Bulmahn...

Note that my question came six months later. JB is likely unaware that it even exists.

NECR0G1ANT wrote:
I think Ravingdork is trying to persuade people Jason Bulmahn responded 'yes' to Ravingdork's question when in fact he didn't.

Not quite. I am trying to convince people that my interpretation is correct. I am not trying to convince people that JB was saying yes to my request for additional, confirming clarity (which was made 6 months ago; I am more certain of my stance these days than I was then).

I do think that Jason's answer is enough though, as neither JB nor the questions OP listed any qualifiers.

Can you cast a lower level spell in a higher level slot without the benefits? Yes you can. Full stop.

Taken with the fact that THE LEAD DEVELOPER said "yes" without any additional qualifications, that this is how it's always been done in past editions, and that nothing in the rules explicitly prohibits it, it all indicates that I have a pretty solid case for my interpretation.

NECR0G1ANT wrote:
This wouldn't be the first time people took a designer's comments on reddit as RAW. Remember when we all though you could use DEX to Trip if you had a weapon with the finesse and trip traits?

It's true that Reddit comments shouldn't be taken as official, but when it's all you've got, it's all you've got. Your cautionary tale is also apt. However, I don't believe it was the lead developer commenting before. Clearly, he got overruled. In this case, we have a direct response from THE Lead Developer.


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Ravingdork wrote:
NECR0G1ANT wrote:
Here's the entire exchange between the reddit OP and Jason Bulmahn...

Note that my question came six months later. JB is likely unaware that it even exists.

NECR0G1ANT wrote:
I think Ravingdork is trying to persuade people Jason Bulmahn responded 'yes' to Ravingdork's question when in fact he didn't.

Not quite. I am trying to convince people that my interpretation is correct. I am not trying to convince people that JB was saying yes to my request for additional, confirming clarity (which was made 6 months ago; I am more certain of my stance these days than I was then).

I do think that Jason's answer is enough though, as neither JB nor the questions OP listed any qualifiers.

Can you cast a lower level spell in a higher level slot without the benefits? Yes you can. Full stop.

Taken with the fact that THE LEAD DEVELOPER said "yes" without any additional qualifications, that this is how it's always been done in past editions, and that nothing in the rules explicitly prohibits it, it all indicates that I have a pretty solid case for my interpretation.

NECR0G1ANT wrote:
This wouldn't be the first time people took a designer's comments on reddit as RAW. Remember when we all though you could use DEX to Trip if you had a weapon with the finesse and trip traits?
It's true that Reddit comments shouldn't be taken as official, but when it's all you've got, it's all you've got. Your cautionary tale is also apt. However, I don't believe it was the lead developer commenting before. Clearly, he got overruled. In this case, we have a direct response from THE Lead Developer.

More so, this is never an issue for prepared casters, because prepared casters can always heighten spells for free. A wizard would never cast a first level spell out of a second level slot, because if they have the first level version of a spell, they also have the 2nd, 3rd and 4th level version of the spell.

Jason Bulmahn's yes is completely meaningless to prepared casters.

Now reddit is definitely not Errata, so Jason could write a 5 page essay about why he feels that people should allow it on reddit and it wouldn't make it the rules as written. The core rulebook does not clearly state what a spell slot is in context of whether you can only cast spells of that level in them, or whether you can cast spells of that level or lower in them. We experience the exact same problem when looking at staves and what appropriate spell level for casting a spell means.

Hopefully it is a region of the rules that will see eventual clarity, especially with the potential for unusual casting matrices in Secrets of Magic.

It is possible it wont need to get errata'd at all if it gets explained in more detail in that book.

Scarab Sages

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Again, here's the entire exchange between the reddit OP and Jason Bulmahn:

JasonBuhlman wrote:
Darkluc wrote:
Can you cast a 1st level spell using a 2nd level slot without the benefits?]
Yes you can.

And here's the question that Ravingdork asked

RavingDork wrote:
Jason, just to be clear, can you do this even if you're a spontaneous caster? For example, my 9th-level sorcerer knows fireball as a 3rd-level spell. It is NOT a signature spell for her. Could she cast it as a 3rd-level spell (without any of the benefits of heightening) by expending her 4th- and 5th-level spell slots?

Ravingdork, if you were absolutely certain that you JB's three-word answer to another question meant what you say it does, then you wouldn't have needed to ask for clarification. You're reading way too much into such a brief answer.

I'm glad everyone knows that reddit posts aren't errata, and remembers that reddit posts by designers can mislead people. But I do think many of you are nonetheless making the same mistake twice. And if a reddit post is "all you've got" to support your rules interpretation, then you've got nothing.

Finally, consider the following:

CRB p. 444, Ambiguous Rules wrote:
Sometimes a rule could be interpreted multiple ways. If one version is too good to be true, it probably is.

Any rules interpretation that gives some of the benefits of Signature Spells to every spell in a spontaneous spellcaster's repetioire would be a major buff to spontaneous casters. Sot it's probably wrong.


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Not sure how reposting the same thing you said a few hours ago really adds to the conversation.

I get that you disagree with the OP and you really want everyone to know how right you think you are, but it sort of reads just like you're saying "just trust me instead!" Over and over without really pointing to anything mechanical to back up your assertion.

Is there a particular line in the rules you think settles the OP's issue definitively? Or... anything? Otherwise your post just comes across as basically accusing the OP of bad faith and Jason of trying to trick people.

Grand Lodge

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Lucerious wrote:
Have 16 True Strikes a day. What are you going to use them on? Cantrips? You only have so many polar rays.

But you can have a LOT of Disintegrates. Even at 20th level a 6th level Disintegrate deals a lot of damage. Imagine having 18 Disintegrates and 20 True Strikes at your disposal, being able to swap those out for many MANY other useful spells on a whim, and also being able to use a scaling Magic Missile because that's your actual level 1 signature spell. You may think it's not a big deal but it actually is, especially as you level up and get really powerful spells, and a lot more spell slots.

The rules do not support this interpretation, and a post on Reddit isn't enough evidence to state otherwise.


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Cordell Kintner wrote:
Lets take a spell like True Strike

I really wish we wouldn't... Every time someone tries to point out why something would be an issue, they point to True Strike... I think that spell might be the biggest problem child the system has. :P


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
graystone wrote:
Cordell Kintner wrote:
Lets take a spell like True Strike
I really wish we wouldn't... Every time someone tries to point out why something would be an issue, they point to True Strike... I think that spell might be the biggest problem child the system has. :P

*stuffing yet another staff of divination into my backpack* What ever could you mean?


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graystone wrote:
Cordell Kintner wrote:
Lets take a spell like True Strike
I really wish we wouldn't... Every time someone tries to point out why something would be an issue, they point to True Strike... I think that spell might be the biggest problem child the system has. :P

Well, one quirk of the current magic system is, that at some point in your caster life you simply have to ask yourself: What spells are still effective in low level slots and which aren't?

And if - for example - we subtract each spell that is either subject to the incapacitation or counteract mechanics or a damage spell we can quickly narrow it down to just a few selected spells with True Strike just being the most prominent example. True Strike stays as relevant at level 1 as it is at level 20.

And while spells like Bless, Command or Protection still yield noticable results even my Warpriest eventually picked it up via human ancestry. It simply was much easier to keep low level spells relevant in PF1 than it is in PF2 and strong spells stick out very much in the later.

Grand Lodge

graystone wrote:
Cordell Kintner wrote:
Lets take a spell like True Strike
I really wish we wouldn't... Every time someone tries to point out why something would be an issue, they point to True Strike... I think that spell might be the biggest problem child the system has. :P

It's not the spell, it's that it's so powerful for a 1st level spell. People bring up these hypothetical situations because they want more True Strikes for free, but conveniently leave that part out. It's a real problem that happens constantly; asking clarification on a rule without mentioning the full context behind it.


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graystone wrote:
Cordell Kintner wrote:
Lets take a spell like True Strike
I really wish we wouldn't... Every time someone tries to point out why something would be an issue, they point to True Strike... I think that spell might be the biggest problem child the system has. :P

Yeah, at this point it's kind of getting into "It dies to Lightning Bolt" territory.

Spoiler:
For the uninitiated, Lightning Bolt was one of the original cards in Magic: The Gathering, dealing three points of damage for a single red mana, and being an instant (meaning you could cast it on the other player's turn, and in response to what the other player did). As a result, any creature with a toughness of three or lower needed to either be really cheap, have some way to protect against a lightning bolt, or bring something amazing to the table (preferably as a come-into-play effect as opposed to an ongoing effect). Eventually, they stopped printing Lightning Bolt so it moved out of the most-played formats, so they would no longer have to take its format-warping abilities into account when making other cards.


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Ubertron_X wrote:
And while spells like Bless, Command or Protection still yield noticable results even my Warpriest eventually picked it up via human ancestry. It simply was much easier to keep low level spells relevant in PF1 than it is in PF2 and strong spells stick out very much in the later.

The difference is that most of those aren't really relevant in multiples a combat or are situational, like Command being Enchantment, Linguistic and Mental [need minds and a common language]: this means that you can't build a plan around using one every round, every combat. Add to that that it's one of the super rare single action spells and the result just multiplies the issues.

WatersLethe wrote:
*stuffing yet another staff of divination into my backpack* What ever could you mean?

LOL Yeah, you're why we can't have a bastard sword-staff magus critfisher... ;)

Scarab Sages

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Squiggit wrote:

Not sure how reposting the same thing you said a few hours ago really adds to the conversation.

I get that you disagree with the OP and you really want everyone to know how right you think you are, but it sort of reads just like you're saying "just trust me instead!" Over and over without really pointing to anything mechanical to back up your assertion.

Is there a particular line in the rules you think settles the OP's issue definitively? Or... anything? Otherwise your post just comes across as basically accusing the OP of bad faith and Jason of trying to trick people.

What, did I violate some unwritten rules of forum etiquette? This entire thread has revolved around the reddit posts, which I re-posted. The reason I didn't hit 'Reply' to RavingDork's response is becasue he ommitted it, but I thought it was relevant for my point. Plus forum posts become hard to read after enough reply back-and-forth.

As for mechanical questions, what's written about heightened spells on page 299 in the CRB should have settled this discussion, reddit post or not. Ascalaphus already posted that earlier, though. Do you really need me to re-post that, too?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Barnabas Eckleworth III wrote:

"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.

This is what is distinctly missing from the core rulebook. Does a spell have to be X level to be cast from an X level slot?

There is no specific mention of this in the core rule book and the definition of a spell slot is incredibly sparse.


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Cordell Kintner wrote:
Lucerious wrote:
Have 16 True Strikes a day. What are you going to use them on? Cantrips? You only have so many polar rays.

But you can have a LOT of Disintegrates. Even at 20th level a 6th level Disintegrate deals a lot of damage. Imagine having 18 Disintegrates and 20 True Strikes at your disposal, being able to swap those out for many MANY other useful spells on a whim, and also being able to use a scaling Magic Missile because that's your actual level 1 signature spell. You may think it's not a big deal but it actually is, especially as you level up and get really powerful spells, and a lot more spell slots.

The rules do not support this interpretation, and a post on Reddit isn't enough evidence to state otherwise.

I fully disagree. I can’t begin to run through all the reasons why a caster wouldn’t want to do that. If that was what someone wanted to do, then by all means. Also, how does any of this affect someone having magic missile as a signature spell? And frankly, what is the difference between a prepared caster doing this with its slots given that is rule is unchallenged? And lastly, what is too good to be true about that?

Absolutely nothing in the rules specifically states one can or cannot do this. The rule only speaks of using a spell at increased value, aka heightened, requires special preparation or made signature. Not heightened, but just using a higher slot, is not mentioned. The lead designer says yes.

You haven’t proven your case and reasonable doubt is quite strong.

Grand Lodge

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Lucerious wrote:
Cordell Kintner wrote:
Lucerious wrote:
Have 16 True Strikes a day. What are you going to use them on? Cantrips? You only have so many polar rays.

But you can have a LOT of Disintegrates. Even at 20th level a 6th level Disintegrate deals a lot of damage. Imagine having 18 Disintegrates and 20 True Strikes at your disposal, being able to swap those out for many MANY other useful spells on a whim, and also being able to use a scaling Magic Missile because that's your actual level 1 signature spell. You may think it's not a big deal but it actually is, especially as you level up and get really powerful spells, and a lot more spell slots.

The rules do not support this interpretation, and a post on Reddit isn't enough evidence to state otherwise.

I fully disagree. I can’t begin to run through all the reasons why a caster wouldn’t want to do that. If that was what someone wanted to do, then by all means. Also, how does any of this affect someone having magic missile as a signature spell? And frankly, what is the difference between a prepared caster doing this with its slots given that is rule is unchallenged? And lastly, what is too good to be true about that?

Absolutely nothing in the rules specifically states one can or cannot do this. The rule only speaks of using a spell at increased value, aka heightened, requires special preparation or made signature. Not heightened, but just using a higher slot, is not mentioned. The lead designer says yes.

You haven’t proven your case and reasonable doubt is quite strong.

A prepared caster can totally do this, but they would be locked into that choice for the day. Spontaneous casters aren't locked in.

You keep saying "Nothing says we CAN'T do this." Well nothing in the rules states you can't walk through walls, but it's widely agreed upon as a rule. Not to mention the rules for Heightening Spells explicitly says you can not do this. Casting a spell like True Strike as a 1st level spell vs 2nd level spell is the same in every regard except its counteract level, and I hardly see many casters going out of their way wasting counter spell slots on True Strike. What you're all suggesting is akin to free signature spells, as others have also tried to explain.

If it's too good to be true, it probably is.

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