What makes for a good signature spell?


Advice


Some of the obvious suspects for signature spell selection appear to be damage, counteract, and incapacitation spells. But while they benefit from being cast at your highest level slots, their value in lower level slots diminishes as you level up.

So is it better to choose signature spells that benefit obviously from heightening or should you choose spells that you want to cast more than three or four times day? Are there spells that fit in both of those buckets?


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I would say that the best uses for signature spells is when you want the effects of different levels like Invisibility that have a good lvl 2 and 4 effect, Dispel Magic so you have the appropriate lvl.

Using the signature to have more high level spells is something that is fine too, Haste is so amazing at spell lvl 7 that you probably never cast it at lvl 3 anymore, but you keep it as signature so you can have other lvl 7 spells instead of learning it at higher level.

Grand Lodge

Heal and Harm are both magnificent signature spells for the divine bloodlines.

Any spell that has dice or effects that scale with levels can be a good choice.


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

Any light or darkness spell could be useful for overcoming opposing darkness or light effects of characters and creatures.


A lot depends on how often you expect to be able to retrain. If you can retrain a lot, then regularly retraining so that your incapacitation spells are just regular-known at high spell levels is good. If you can't, then it might make sense to make one a signature spell.

I've been thinking a lot about this, especially in the context of the premium that 2e places on higher-level spell slots. Here are some low-level spells that do benefit from heightening, but which are reasonable at any spell level:

(Note that I don't think this is necessarily a list of *good* spells, although most are okay.)

Charm (Assuming that there are low-level NPCs you want to charm.)
Disrupting Weapons
Enhance Victuals
Enlarge
False Life
Heal
Illusory Creature
Mending
Resist Energy
Sleep (Assuming that there are low-level NPCs you want to put to sleep.)
Soothe

There are also many spells that you generally want to cast at a high a level as you can, but which are still a reasonable use of a slot/action if you don't. The vast majority of spells whose primary purpose is damage fall into this category, although very low-level damage spells get outpaced by auto-scaling cantrips quickly if they're not heightened heavily.

Spells that heighten for a distinct effect but that are still useful with their base effect are another pretty good option.


I'm not sure whether I fully understand signature spells or not. So according to my knowledge, if I designate charm as my signature spell, then first, I only need to spend a 1st level spell slot to cast the 4th or 8th level charm because a signature spell is automatically heightened, and second, I don't need to have the 4th and 8th level charm in my spell repertoire at all. Am I right?


One of my favorite spells to heighten is Magic Missile. I like placing it as a 2nd or maybe even 3rd level spell, and then heighten it so you can both increase and reduce its power and put more basic utility spells in your 1st level slots.

Dunno if I'd keep it that way through my whole career, but it's a nice little thing early levels.


Kyrone wrote:

I would say that the best uses for signature spells is when you want the effects of different levels like Invisibility that have a good lvl 2 and 4 effect, Dispel Magic so you have the appropriate lvl.

Using the signature to have more high level spells is something that is fine too, Haste is so amazing at spell lvl 7 that you probably never cast it at lvl 3 anymore, but you keep it as signature so you can have other lvl 7 spells instead of learning it at higher level.

This is good, but also misses a dynamic, in that you are forced to have Sig Spell of every spell level... So if other Level 7 spells you want are all minimum level 7, then using that level for Haste could be good choice. So considering this, having base spell known in Heightened version can make sense, it depends how it fits into rest of repertoire. I guess start by sketching out your desired spells, see what is most fixed/least flexible, and let the flexible stuff squish in to fit, starting with where there is least contentions (like level 7 example).

Arcane Evolution is whole different game, with choice between new spell OR adding Sig Spell to existing spell, in which case Heighten/Undercast possibilities of ALL spells, not just "permanently" designated SigSpells comes into play. That really opens up play, since ones you want SigSpell for but figure you will know whether you need it for that day or not, can just be normally learned, and when you don't need it SigSpelled for a day, learn something different instead.


Aenigma wrote:
I'm not sure whether I fully understand signature spells or not. So according to my knowledge, if I designate charm as my signature spell, then first, I only need to spend a 1st level spell slot to cast the 4th or 8th level charm because a signature spell is automatically heightened, and second, I don't need to have the 4th and 8th level charm in my spell repertoire at all. Am I right?

Only the second is true. You cast a signature spell from whatever level slot you're trying to cast from, but if it's not a signature spell you'd need to learn Charm three times to be able to cast it at 1st, 4th and 8th level.

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