What are "harmless" spells?


Rules Questions


As title says, I googled and couldn't find a clear answer.


A spell that even if you could roll a save, there is no reason normally to do so as they in no way normally penalize you.

For instance a spell that made you better at profession rolls. If it included a save it would also likely say harmless eg : save Will (harmless).

The save is still there for people that may want to make a save anyways or have to by the rules because they must save against all spells no matter the source.


Darc1396 wrote:
As title says, I googled and couldn't find a clear answer.

(harmless)

The spell is usually beneficial, not harmful, but a targeted creature can attempt a saving throw if it desires.

Check the saving throws explanation section of the Magic chapter.


I would also note that there are some effects that distinguish between harmless and not harmless spells, for example spell scourge.


Cure Light/Moderate/Serious/Critical Wounds are harmless spells that allow a save. Barbarians with the Superstitious rage feat have to save vs them if a caster tries to use such a cure spell on them while a barbarian is raging.


Spells that have the "(harmless)" tag. If the spell does not have that tag, it is not considered a harmless spell even if it does nothing bad.

Fun fact: some have the tag under the "Saving Throw", some under the "Spell Resistance", and some under both.

/cevah

Lantern Lodge

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Gilfalas wrote:
Darc1396 wrote:
As title says, I googled and couldn't find a clear answer.

(harmless)

The spell is usually beneficial, not harmful, but a targeted creature can attempt a saving throw if it desires.

Check the saving throws explanation section of the Magic chapter.

In case you didn't understand Gilfalas - he literally quoted the Core Rulebook definition of (harmless) in the Saving Throw section on page 216. He wasn't telling you what he thinks, he's telling you what the rule says.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Rulebook Subscriber

I will also note that if the spell says Spell Resistance: Yes, then even though it is harmless you must bypass the target's spell resistance if any. This can be quite a pain for those cure spells. The target can lower his/her spell resistance but that is a standard action, and leaves you vulnerable for at least a round.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

And there are several situations where you are forced to try to save. As an example, when Confused you treat all attempt to cast spells on you as an attack (you see everyone as non-friendly) and are forced to save.


Diego Rossi wrote:
And there are several situations where you are forced to try to save. As an example, when Confused you treat all attempt to cast spells on you as an attack (you see everyone as non-friendly) and are forced to save.

Also, sometimes you just want to spite the party cleric.

Dark Archive

Gilfalas wrote:
Darc1396 wrote:
As title says, I googled and couldn't find a clear answer.

(harmless)

The spell is usually beneficial, not harmful, but a targeted creature can attempt a saving throw if it desires.

Check the saving throws explanation section of the Magic chapter.

I like that you can choose to save even against a harmless spell, if, for instance, you are from a culture that shuns that sort of magic (arcane spells from an arcane-magic-hating / fearing people, a buff spell cast by an evil cleric, if you are a worshipper of their god's nemesis and want to avoid their 'blessing', etc.) for role-playing reasons.

There could even be mechanical benefits in very particular cases, like some demiplane were magic has a physical sense of weight, and it's possible to be encumbered, or even suffocated!, by the weight of one's own buffs.


Also handy if you don't trust the overly-helpful "priest" offering to heal you but don't have enough Spellcraft to tell whether that spell is cure light wounds or bestow curse.

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