Can Flaming Sphere be used more than once per turn?


Rules Discussion

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The playtest version of the spell specified you could only concentrate on it to target a square once per turn. Now it seems to have lost that language and I can't find anything in the general rules for the Sustain action limiting it to once per turn for the same spell. But 3d6 3 times per turn for 1 minute seems like rather a lot for a 2nd level spell. Especially one with no MAP.


I don't see any reason why not.

1st round: move, flaming sphere #1.
2nd round: sustain fs#1, flaming sphere #2.
3rd round: sustain fs#1, sustain fs#2, move.
4th round+: repeat.

If you can quicken the spell to one action, you could get three of them going.


breithauptclan wrote:

I don't see any reason why not.

1st round: move, flaming sphere #1.
2nd round: sustain fs#1, flaming sphere #2.
3rd round: sustain fs#1, sustain fs#2, move.
4th round+: repeat.

If you can quicken the spell to one action, you could get three of them going.

You misunderstood the issue. The question was "Is it possible to sustain(and thus move) the SAME Flaming Sphere multiple times per round?"

I can't find anything about being unable to sustain a spell multiple times per round, though I'm not sure that's RAI.


Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Although the Sustain a Spell doesn't appear to be intended to be used more than once a round, since its basic benefits wouldn't improve from multiple uses, there doesn't appear to be any language specifically preventing it.

I believe RAI should be only once per round. RAW appears unclear.


Blink is another spell that might have benefits (random teleportation) for choosing to sustain more than once per round.


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

This is where common sense needs to come in. Sustaining a spell makes it last until the end of your turn. There is no need to sustain a spell again the same round because it doesn’t need it. They could have worded the action a little more carefully so people wouldn’t be asking this question but good grief there are enough real issues with the rules that we shouldn’t be wasting our time on something like this that should be obvious.


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Bidmaron wrote:
This is where common sense needs to come in. Sustaining a spell makes it last until the end of your turn. There is no need to sustain a spell again the same round because it doesn’t need it.

Dear Mr. Bidmaron,

We thank you for your submission, but we must regretfully reject it. It shows a lack of familiarity with spells that allow the sustain a spell action where that action is entirely unnecessary to extend the duration of the spell, namely Blink and False Vision. Sadly, this ignorance completely undermines your intended point. We do, however, encourage you to try again, hopefully with less arrogance now that you've been shown you are not entirely competent to opine on things on which you have very strong opinions.

Sincerely,
Everyone


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

You know, you are right. Forgive me. I didn’t understand the point. Now I do agree there is room for improvement, as I did not realize those spells gave you the option to sustain even though sustain is unnecessary from a duration standpoint. I respectfully retract my previous statement.


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I feel like this is the most devastating comeback I have ever read. I am legitimately shook.


We already know some spells were able to be continously Sustained for repeated benefits.

In the playtest, Spiritual weapon suffering from MAP was balanced against Flaming Sphere exactly because the language clearly said that Sphere was a "once per turn" thing, while Spiritual could be used 3 times (with horrible MAP though) if you wished.

I'm more inclined to believe that the omission is an error this time around (probably to save space) rather than intended.

But yes, as written, you can move and benefit from flaming sphere more than once a round.


Can you sustain two flaming spheres over multiple rounds?


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Atalius wrote:
Can you sustain two flaming spheres over multiple rounds?

Yes. There's no rule saying you can't sustain multiple spells at once.

With Quicken and Effordless Concentration you could even have 4 of them active at the same time.


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It is also news to me that you can use Sustain on spells that don't have a duration of Sustained.

After re-reading all the applicable stuff I could find in the CRB regarding the subject, the way it reads to me is that, if the spell actually has a "Sustained" duration, the Sustain action should only be usable once per round. For spells that do not have a "Sustained" duration but which specify that the Sustain action can be used for a specific effect, I would say you should be able to do it more than once per round if the spell writeup doesn't say otherwise.

For example:

-False Vision (not a Sustained duration) specifies that you can sustain 'each round' so that's only once per round
-Blink (also not Sustained duration) does not specify, so you should be able to do it each action if you want
-Flaming Sphere does have a Sustained duration. It doesn't specify that you can only do it once per round, but the way it is worded leaves me with the impression that it's only once. Plus, as the OP mentioned, it would be kinda powerful for a lvl 2 spell to do 3 x 3d6 attacks in one round.
-Unseen Servant (sustained) reads:

You summon an unseen servant which you can command as part of Sustaining the Spell.

If you could Sustain it more than once, would the servant get 2 actions each time? Clearly not.

I'm extrapolating from the samples I've looked at to say that, in the context of spells that actually require a Sustain action to keep them going, doing it more than once does not make sense and should not be an option.

If someone has counter examples, please post.


mrspaghetti wrote:


-Unseen Servant (sustained) reads:

You summon an unseen servant which you can command as part of Sustaining the Spell.

If you could Sustain it more than once, would the servant get 2 actions each time? Clearly not.

sorry for thread necromancy, just came across another spell that would benefit being able to be "sustained" more than once per turn, the protective ward power. You could use all your actions to get the range of the ward to 15 feet on the turn you start it.

You're definitely right about unseen servant, but not because of the sustain rules. A summoned creature gains the minion trait, the unseen servant can only get two actions per turn because of the minion rules, not because of some implied rule about sustaining spells.

Nothing in the requirements of the "Sustain a spell" action say anything about having already used the action, it doesn't have the flourish trait, and I think if they explicitly wanted to prevent this, the first sentence in the action description "Choose one spell with a sustained duration you have in effect" would have added the clause "that you have not already sustained this turn."

All that said, I think flaming sphere is somewhat balanced against this because you can't use the sustain action the turn you cast it because it states subsequent rounds, and the successful reflex save prevents all damage instead of just half


"Animate Object" also has similar wording to prevent abuse "the object gets two actions per turn which it can use when you sustain the spell".

I don't know what the intention for flaming sphere is/was, but I think it was the intention that you can use sustain multiple times in a turn. It actually makes a lot of sense for things like spiritual weapon.


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

I'm hoping they clarify that you can sustain one per turn per spell/effect, and not just once per turn.

Spells like flaming sphere, as written, break the game. Going too far in the other direction and making sustain only once per round would be almost as bad I think, as that would make magic and the sustain mechanic far less interesting.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

I did a bit of a write-up on this, found here (Give it a second), which highlights some of the issues with it.

As it stands, as far as I can see, nothing stands in the way of sustaining multiple times in a round and hence moving it multiple times.

I do not believe that was the intention of the spell, as you can see from my damage scaling figures in the link, but it looks to be mechanically possible.


Captain Morgan wrote:
But 3d6 3 times per turn for 1 minute seems like rather a lot for a 2nd level spell. Especially one with no MAP.

I feel the same, but also couldn't find any specific rule or limit in terms sustain spell being used multiple times per round.

Personally, we allow just 1 per.
No really waiting for an errat given the argument, but who knows.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
HumbleGamer wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
But 3d6 3 times per turn for 1 minute seems like rather a lot for a 2nd level spell. Especially one with no MAP.

I feel the same, but also couldn't find any specific rule or limit in terms sustain spell being used multiple times per round.

Personally, we allow just 1 per.
No really waiting for an errat given the argument, but who knows.

I suspect that we'll just get a rewrite of the Flaming Sphere wording, as it is by far the biggest offender. As I showed in the above link, a single 8th level Flaming Sphere is potentially (with a bit of building) able to kill every single entry in the Bestiary (forgoing those immune to fire).


Flaming sphere is almost certainly an error.

As written you can only damage once in the first turn and then 3 times turns 2+.

That is weird and highly unlikely to be what was intended.


Agreed with a lot of the others here. I see it as Flaming Sphere being the culprit, and sustaining multiple times for basically all other spells (that I could find) working as intended.


What about instead of changing the sustain part to include that you can't damage a single creature or object more than once per round?


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"On subsequent rounds, you can Sustain this Spell, leaving the sphere in its square or rolling it to another square within range and dealing 3d6 fire damage; each creature in its square must attempt a basic Reflex save."

Flaming Sphere wording is special. Compared to Spiritual Weapon:

"Each time you Sustain the Spell, you can move the weapon to a new target within range (if needed) and Strike with it."

So, it's not the Sustain action that deals the damage with Flaming Sphere, it's the fact that it's sustained. The difference in wording makes me think it's intentional, and Flaming Sphere can deal its damage only once per round.

Dark Archive

Now I’m paying attention to this as it also has consequences for Sustaining Summons. (Sustain to give the minion two actions). I don’t have my CRB handy, but could I technically Sustain three times in a round to give my minion 6 actions?! That’s very overpowered.

I’ve been interpreting it as a person is only able to Sustain a spell once per round, but based on the discussion, I need to adjust my understanding....


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Cirithiel wrote:

Now I’m paying attention to this as it also has consequences for Sustaining Summons. (Sustain to give the minion two actions). I don’t have my CRB handy, but could I technically Sustain three times in a round to give my minion 6 actions?! That’s very overpowered.

I’ve been interpreting it as a person is only able to Sustain a spell once per round, but based on the discussion, I need to adjust my understanding....

That isn't a concern, because the minion trait limits the creature to 2 actions per turn.


SuperBidi wrote:

"On subsequent rounds, you can Sustain this Spell, leaving the sphere in its square or rolling it to another square within range and dealing 3d6 fire damage; each creature in its square must attempt a basic Reflex save."

Flaming Sphere wording is special. Compared to Spiritual Weapon:

"Each time you Sustain the Spell, you can move the weapon to a new target within range (if needed) and Strike with it."

So, it's not the Sustain action that deals the damage with Flaming Sphere, it's the fact that it's sustained. The difference in wording makes me think it's intentional, and Flaming Sphere can deal its damage only once per round.

I don't read that like you do... It does read to me like "Sustain this Spell" action is what triggers the sphere staying put or leaving its square. If it said "on subsequent rounds, if the spell is sustained" I might have an easier time reading it that way...


Well it does say “on subsequent rounds, you can sustain the spell”, which sort of implies that the condition of sustaining is dependent on the round and not by sustaining in general as then the first line is unnecessary, you could just say “each time you sustain this spell” and leave off the rounds part entirely.

It needs to be clarified but that does indicate intent to be read a particular way.

Paizo Employee Designer

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We have it coming in the next errata batch. Sustain a given spell once per round only, unless the spell specifically encourages you to do so more than once like spiritual weapon.


Mark Seifter wrote:
We have it coming in the next errata batch. Sustain once per round only, unless the spell specifically encourages you to do so more than once like spiritual weapon.

are you allowed to give us more? like, is it a change to the prereq of the action, or to the action itself? can we sustain multiple spells per round but only once per spell or straight up one sustain at all?


Mark Seifter wrote:
We have it coming in the next errata batch. Sustain once per round only, unless the spell specifically encourages you to do so more than once like spiritual weapon.

Any hints to the time table for mark 2 errata? Inquiring minds want to know. :)

I imagine there is a bit of a wait, due to Holidays if nothing else. Speaking of which, happy Holidays to the Paizo team.

Paizo Employee Designer

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beowulf99 wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
We have it coming in the next errata batch. Sustain once per round only, unless the spell specifically encourages you to do so more than once like spiritual weapon.

Any hints to the time table for mark 2 errata? Inquiring minds want to know. :)

I imagine there is a bit of a wait, due to Holidays if nothing else. Speaking of which, happy Holidays to the Paizo team.

We'll let you guys know, but there's other steps along the way to deciding that go through multiple departments before we ourselves know for sure, and then we need to make sure it's all set and we're sure we can hit it. The last thing we want to do is give a timeframe and then have it be inaccurate.

Happy holidays!


Always nice to get the occasional authoritative answer on the forum. Thanks Mark!


We love you Mark! But I love you the MOST!!!


Mark Seifter wrote:
We have it coming in the next errata batch. Sustain a given spell once per round only, unless the spell specifically encourages you to do so more than once like spiritual weapon.

Thanks for the update Mark :). As a note: Spiritual Weapon doesn't have anything particularly special that encourages you to sustain it multiple times, it just doesn't feel broken that you can/has things that prevent it from being overpowered if you do. The same sort of question could be asked for dancing lights. I don't know what wording you have here, but figured I'd mention this.

EDIT: It could be argued that Flaming Sphere has something that encourages you to sustain it more than once, in that it will move and do more damage...


ofMars wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
We have it coming in the next errata batch. Sustain once per round only, unless the spell specifically encourages you to do so more than once like spiritual weapon.
are you allowed to give us more? like, is it a change to the prereq of the action, or to the action itself? can we sustain multiple spells per round but only once per spell or straight up one sustain at all?

He states a given spell once per round, except for spells that would allow it more than once per round.

So you could sustain a Bard composition or witch hex while you also sustain a flaming sphere in the same round, but not flaming sphere twice. Spectral Weapon would be the exception to that rule, allowing multiple Spectral Weapon sustains in the same round.


Yeah, I can see why Spiritual Weapon might be felt to "encourage" multi-Sustain more, but on second thought I think it's maybe not so clearly solid there, the MAP interaction doesn't explicitly imply Sustain stacking as it's just as relevant to combos with weapon attacks or other attack spells. "it's good to do more damage" doesn't quite seem to qualify (as it would apply to Flaming Sphere just as much). Of course as part of Errata batch, all these cases themselves can be tweaked to conform to guidelines... good to have strong wording pattern to base future guidelines on.

One shady thing on Flaming Sphere is it's Duration: Sustained up to 1 minute seemingly means Sustain is REQUIRED or spell ends, but then it's ongoing effect says: "On subsequent rounds, you can Sustain this Spell..." where Sustain seems phrased as optional ("can"). I mean, obviously you don't have to sustain the spell, but then the spell ends, so it seems that within scope of spell's effect, Sustaining the spell should be phrased as assumed true...? e.g. "On subsequent rounds, each time you Sustain this spell..."

Anyhow, sending thanks to all of Paizo crew, and especially rules team managing finicky Errata solutions spanning multiple instances... Enjoy the holiday season!


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

One further point of clarification might be whether or not you can sustain multiple instances of the same spell; two flaming spheres for example.


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

One further point of clarification might be whether or not you can sustain multiple instances of the same spell; two flaming spheres for two sustain actions, for example.


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Ravingdork wrote:
One further point of clarification might be whether or not you can sustain multiple instances of the same spell; two flaming spheres for example.

I would assume yes, as instance probably refers to a singular instance and spells can be of different levels.

Again, this was an off the cuff addition from a generous dev to help us out in the meantime, but it seems more than fair to me if someone wants to spend two rounds casting flaming sphere that they can direct two (because the value of a spell on the second round would still hold its value regardless of if it was Flaming Sphere).

And, it is impossible to get 3 flaming spheres without quickened casting which is 10th level feat (as you will never have the action count to support a casting and two sustains until you can cast it as a single action).

Seems far more balanced.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Midnightoker wrote:
Seems far more balanced.

I agree.


Mark Seifter wrote:
beowulf99 wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
We have it coming in the next errata batch. Sustain once per round only, unless the spell specifically encourages you to do so more than once like spiritual weapon.

Any hints to the time table for mark 2 errata? Inquiring minds want to know. :)

I imagine there is a bit of a wait, due to Holidays if nothing else. Speaking of which, happy Holidays to the Paizo team.

We'll let you guys know, but there's other steps along the way to deciding that go through multiple departments before we ourselves know for sure, and then we need to make sure it's all set and we're sure we can hit it. The last thing we want to do is give a timeframe and then have it be inaccurate.

Happy holidays!

The legend has spoken. All I'm hoping for Christmas this year that you can let us know if we can use Dex to trip with our Whip. Happy holidays!


So is there a general consensus that Flaming Sphere can be Sustained only once a round? How are most of you handling this currently? It seems that's RAI, but difficult to tell sometimes.

And with new errata mentioning this, I do hope they are thorough and talk internally about revising how Sustain a Spell is worded, as well as the various spells that can be Sustained, rather than making us parse the descriptions and interpret their intentions on a per spell basis (like we're doing now).


RH wrote:

So is there a general consensus that Flaming Sphere can be Sustained only once a round? How are most of you handling this currently? It seems that's RAI, but difficult to tell sometimes.

And with new errata mentioning this, I do hope they are thorough and talk internally about revising how Sustain a Spell is worded, as well as the various spells that can be Sustained, rather than making us parse the descriptions and interpret their intentions on a per spell basis (like we're doing now).

Mark directly stated the RAI above, there is no question what that (and future RAW) is anymore.

Whether you can sustain multiple copies of the same spell in the same round is in question. But in the case of flaming sphere it is cast, then one sustain a round.

Sovereign Court

Mark Seifter wrote:
We have it coming in the next errata batch. Sustain a given spell once per round only, unless the spell specifically encourages you to do so more than once like spiritual weapon.

Happy Holidays to you as well.

However, I would never allow a caster to sustain the same spell multiple times in a round. That would mean a single flaming sphere can do 3d6 three times in a round with no MAP penalties. At least Spiritual Weapon has MAP built in to it, but I would not allow it there either, for the sake on consistency.

If a caster wants multiple Flaming Spheres bouncing around like pinballs, I would require them to cast 1 Flaming Sphere on round 1, and then sustain it and also cast another Flaming Sphere again on round 2. They could thus have 2 Spheres bouncing around and use 2 Sustain actions for them, but if they loose their concentration, both are gone. Cheesy tactic, but technically allowable, even if each individual spell can only be Sustained once per round.


Samurai wrote:

At least Spiritual Weapon has MAP built in to it, but I would not allow it there either, for the sake on consistency.

Really? You do realize that Mark is one of the game developers, right? And he specifically stated that spell as allowed for multiple sustains per round?


I too am confused.

The latter explanation on two flaming spheres is exactly how it’s meant to work.

What mark is essentially saying is Spectral Weapon specifically needs text that overrides that behavior.

Sovereign Court

mrspaghetti wrote:
Samurai wrote:

At least Spiritual Weapon has MAP built in to it, but I would not allow it there either, for the sake on consistency.

Really? You do realize that Mark is one of the game developers, right? And he specifically stated that spell as allowed for multiple sustains per round?

Yes, I know who Mark is. But if doesn't sound like the second errata is fully cemented and finalized yet. Just because he's a developer doesn't forbid me from offering suggestions or looking for answers. I've worked with several game writers and developers before, and I've even helped write a published game book myself, so I don't see a massive gulf between the devs and the people who bought the game. I bet most/all of the devs were players themselves at one point.

So it seems the errata should be something like:

Sustain: can normally only be used once per round for a specific spell unless that spell says otherwise.

Spiritual Weapon: This spell can be sustained multiple times on the following rounds, gaining 1 attack with normal MAP penalties each time it is used to attack in a round.

Flaming Sphere: This spell may only be sustained once per round on the following rounds.


I honestly think this is the only culprit. Animate object and the like have wording to prevent multiple sustains from benefiting the caster, and I fail to see how sustaining dancing lights multiple times breaks anything fundamental. Things like Bless already has specific wording indicating you can only sustain it once... Honestly, I wonder if the better solution isn't simply to add that same wording to Flaming Sphere.

EDIT: For reference, Animate object says the object gets two actions per round which can be used when you sustain the spell... So if you sustain multiple times, you're still limited to two actions (though, in theory, you could split those actions up if it would somehow benefit you...).


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
tivadar27 wrote:
I fail to see how sustaining dancing lights multiple times breaks anything fundamental.

Still might be a good idea to future proof things. All it would take is a metamagic feat or similar ability that made light spells into burning spells or something, then suddenly how often you can sustain can really matter.


Ravingdork wrote:
tivadar27 wrote:
I fail to see how sustaining dancing lights multiple times breaks anything fundamental.
Still might be a good idea to future proof things. All it would take is a metamagic feat or similar ability that made light spells into burning spells or something, then suddenly how often you can sustain can really matter.

Fair, I guess it's a question of how much this would change existing wording. Presumably if the intent was that Spiritual Weapon should be usable multiple times, they'll have to add wording there. It's probably a question of what they expect "the norm" to be for spells in the future.

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