Does silent metamagic reduce casting time of the modified spell?


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I have a player that is convinced that because the casting times of spells appears to be based on the components of the spell, that removing the verbal component of a spell with the silent metamagic action would reduce the casting time of the following spell by 1 action. My ruling was that if the metamagic did so, it would explicitly state that it would, so no, you didn't get a silent spell that was the same casting activity as the regular spell. It would take the one action before in addition to the normal casting time.

He wasn't thrilled by my ruling so I promised I would ask here for the general consensus.


I do agree.

Simply because if otherwise, it would be simply overpower. Which means that it was deinitely not meant to remove 1 action from the cast.


Your ruling seems to be the proper one, by RAW. Spells have a certain number of action that is independant from their spell component.
It's true that they have in general as many actions as they have components, but I don't think it's stated anywhere that removing a component should remove an action.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

It feels worth noting that Quickened Casting specifically says to remove actions, where Silent Spell says to remove components. That seems like a relevant distinction, especially for intent, though combing over the spellcasting actions might be illuminating.


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I went looking, and in support of this is Magic missile:
"Actions 1 to 3 (somatic, verbal)"

I had initially assumed that the component types were on a per-component basis, but that doesn't seem to be the case, as for magic missile each component is required no matter how many actions you were using (or that's my read of it...).

I thought heal would provide a better example, but it has separate components for the various numbers of actions listed.


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

Page 303: For most spells, the number of components is equal to the number of actions you must spend to Cast the Spell.

Your player is citing a rules passage that, if read closely, makes it pretty clear that the actions = components phenomenon is a general thing, not an absolute thing. There are exceptions abound, of which metamagic is one.

In short, you're correct, and your player seems to have missed the first three words of the relevant rule.

If your player were correct, no one would ever bother with Quicken Spell.


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Captain Morgan wrote:
It feels worth noting that Quickened Casting specifically says to remove actions, where Silent Spell says to remove components. That seems like a relevant distinction, especially for intent, though combing over the spellcasting actions might be illuminating.

Especially since Silent Spell is a 4th level feat and Quickened is 10th

EDIT: And of course, Quickened is limited to once per day because otherwise it would be OP


By RAW, it removes a verbal component, but then it adds it's own action. So you use less actions, then use more and end up the same.

Theoretically if there was a spell with 2 (or 3) explicit verbal actions, then it would reduce the casting time to 1 action I guess.


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NemoNoName wrote:

By RAW, it removes a verbal component, but then it adds it's own action. So you use less actions, then use more and end up the same.

Theoretically if there was a spell with 2 (or 3) explicit verbal actions, then it would reduce the casting time to 1 action I guess.

That's not the way people are reading it. It doesn't remove an action, just a component. So you end up increasing the number of actions by one.


SuperBidi wrote:
NemoNoName wrote:

By RAW, it removes a verbal component, but then it adds it's own action. So you use less actions, then use more and end up the same.

Theoretically if there was a spell with 2 (or 3) explicit verbal actions, then it would reduce the casting time to 1 action I guess.

That's not the way people are reading it. It doesn't remove an action, just a component. So you end up increasing the number of actions by one.

Exactly.

Simply because, if not, you will be using it all the time gaining huge benefits with no trade in terms of actions.


SuperBidi wrote:
That's not the way people are reading it. It doesn't remove an action, just a component. So you end up increasing the number of actions by one.

I know. I'm saying I think they're wrong.

But.

Given how everything else with Wizards work, I would not be surprised they are actually correct, and it increases total actions by 1. It's a situational metamagic feat, that does make it too powerful for Wizards if it doesn't increase actions by 1.

Exo-Guardians

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Your player is basically arguing that Silent Spell makes your spells silent AND ALSO grants the effects of Quickened Casting.

But notice that Quickened Casting is a Level 10 feat, and can only be used on spells 2 levels lower than the highest you can cast-- whereas Silent Spell is a Level 4 feat and works on spells of any level. That pretty clearly implies that Quickened Casting is meant to be more powerful than Silent Spell, not less.


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

If I recall correctly, the playtest had a more complete link between spell components and number of actions than the released 2E.

In the final product, though, Silent Spell doesn't reduce actions to cast.


Silent spells just removes verbal part of spell, but still adds it's own action to it, so spell no longer requires using the mouth and benfits from both silent/concealed spell. Now if you used 20th lvl feat meta magic mastery on it you can reduce you your most of your spells actions by 1, like fireball from 2 to 1. aslong as it starts with 2 or 3 actions.


In the playtest spells were action(verbal)/action(somatic). In the Release it was changed to action,action (somatic,verbal). It seems that they wanted to change it so that actions were separate from components.


I seem to recall silent spell allowing you to change any verbal components to somatic. Was that in the play test? That would make it super clear.


tivadar27 wrote:

I went looking, and in support of this is Magic missile:

"Actions 1 to 3 (somatic, verbal)"

I had initially assumed that the component types were on a per-component basis, but that doesn't seem to be the case, as for magic missile each component is required no matter how many actions you were using (or that's my read of it...).

I thought heal would provide a better example, but it has separate components for the various numbers of actions listed.

Right and I think in the play test it used to say something like, "for each additional somatic action" you get an extra missile.

Either way, the MM spell is a good example. I had originally assumed what your player did, but now I agree with the consensus here.

Now the question is, could one use Silent Spell as the last action of their turn and apply it to a spell cast with the first action(s) of their next turn? Still a gray area for me, though the subject has been discussed in other threads.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
mrspaghetti wrote:
Now the question is, could one use Silent Spell as the last action of their turn and apply it to a spell cast with the first action(s) of their next turn? Still a gray area for me, though the subject has been discussed in other threads.

I don't see any language within the feat preventing it. Seems like you could.


Hmm, so actually, not sure which side I fall on here anymore. Relevant rulings:

p303 wrote:
If the next action you use is Casting a Spell that has a verbal component and at least one other component, you can remove the verbal component
p210 wrote:
A spell description lists the components required to Cast the Spell. For most spells, the number of components is equal to the number of actions you must spend to Cast the Spell.

Yeah, I could see this going either way. I don't think it really breaks the game, as it's the same number of actions, you just remove the verbal component, but silent spell still has the "concentrate" tag and requires an action, so you're effectively spending a 4th level feat to... potentially be able to use "Conceal Spell" and be stealthy while casting? Doesn't seem like a huge deal to me.

Note that for spells where the number of components weren't equal to the number of actions to begin with, I'd definitely rule this didn't work.

EDIT: Submitted to the typos/clarifications thread.


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tivadar27 wrote:

Hmm, so actually, not sure which side I fall on here anymore. Relevant rulings:

p303 wrote:
If the next action you use is Casting a Spell that has a verbal component and at least one other component, you can remove the verbal component
p210 wrote:
A spell description lists the components required to Cast the Spell. For most spells, the number of components is equal to the number of actions you must spend to Cast the Spell.

Yeah, I could see this going either way. I don't think it really breaks the game, as it's the same number of actions, you just remove the verbal component, but silent spell still has the "concentrate" tag and requires an action, so you're effectively spending a 4th level feat to... potentially be able to use "Conceal Spell" and be stealthy while casting? Doesn't seem like a huge deal to me.

Note that for spells where the number of components weren't equal to the number of actions to begin with, I'd definitely rule this didn't work.

EDIT: Submitted to the typos/clarifications thread.

Essentially, metamagic always gives you a benefit, at the cost of an additional action (with the exception of Quicken, which exists specifically to reduce the number of actions required and is strictly limited to one use per day)

It wouldn't make sense that Silent gives you a benefit for free, that has no such restriction.

That, along with the clear evidence that # of components != # of actions (except by coincidence), I think it's pretty solid that Silent net adds an action like every other metamagic but Quicken.


mrspaghetti wrote:
It wouldn't make sense that Silent gives you a benefit for free, that has no such restriction.

While I don't disagree with your rules interpretation, it's not exactly for free. You're spending a feat on it. It's also very situational in value compared to some of the other metamagic options.

mrspaghetti wrote:

Especially since Silent Spell is a 4th level feat and Quickened is 10th

EDIT: And of course, Quickened is limited to once per day because otherwise it would be OP

K1 wrote:
Simply because if otherwise, it would be simply overpower. Which means that it was deinitely not meant to remove 1 action from the cast.

These are kind of overstating the hypothetical power here too. Maybe in a highly intrigue-based campaign it'd be nice, but acting like free silent would somehow dramatically upset game balance in a typical game seems hyperbolic.

Liberty's Edge

K1 wrote:
Simply because, if not, you will be using it all the time gaining huge benefits with no trade in terms of actions.

I’m not seeing a huge benefit, but a situational benefit.

The feat reads “If the next action you use is Casting a Spell that has a verbal component and at least one other component, you can remove the verbal component.”

Thus there will always be at least one component left if you use Silent Spell, if a spell has two or more verbal components, it doesn’t qualify (it works on a spell “that has a verbal component” not one with multiple).

So if removal of the component removes the action (and I don’t really see why it wouldn’t), you break even on actions, never come out ahead.

Further, let’s look at Magic Missile, which has been mentioned. It reads “For each additional action you use when Casting the Spell, increase the number of missiles you shoot by one, to a maximum of three missiles for 3 actions.” Note that it scales with actions spent to cast, not with components, so if you used Silent Spell to cast Magic Missile in the same round, you’d be limited to two missiles using two somatic components.

Is someone seeing a spell that would actually be improved beyond the expected benefit by using Silent Spell if it replaces the action?


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Squiggit wrote:
mrspaghetti wrote:
It wouldn't make sense that Silent gives you a benefit for free, that has no such restriction.

While I don't disagree with your rules interpretation, it's not exactly for free. You're spending a feat on it. It's also very situational in value compared to some of the other metamagic options.

mrspaghetti wrote:

Especially since Silent Spell is a 4th level feat and Quickened is 10th

EDIT: And of course, Quickened is limited to once per day because otherwise it would be OP

K1 wrote:
Simply because if otherwise, it would be simply overpower. Which means that it was deinitely not meant to remove 1 action from the cast.
These are kind of overstating the hypothetical power here too. Maybe in a highly intrigue-based campaign it'd be nice, but acting like free silent would somehow dramatically upset game balance in a typical game seems hyperbolic.

I don't think it's overstating to say that Quickened would be OP if not limited to once per day.


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mrspaghetti wrote:
I don't think it's overstating to say that Quickened would be OP if not limited to once per day.

Yes, but Silent Spell isn't Quickened. If Silent removed an action, you'd be spending one action to remove one action, which would be net neutral action economy. All you'd gain is the actual benefits of Silent. Which, again, I'm having trouble believing would be as devastating to game balance as some of the posts in this thread are implying.

Liberty's Edge

Also noteworthy as background for this discussion, component substitution is pretty common in 2E, so if the designers intended Silent Spell to not reduce the number of actions a spell requires, they easily could have used existing terminology and mechanics to make that clear.

Look at the sidebar on CRB 303. In each case, it speaks of substituting components, not removing them.

Liberty's Edge

Squiggit wrote:
If Silent removed an action, you'd be spending one action to remove one action, which would be net neutral action economy. All you'd gain is the actual benefits of Silent.

It’s only barely even a net neutral because it’s an action that doesn’t not count toward casting the spell, which means that for spells like Heal or Magic Missile, that scale based on actions spent, you don’t get “credit” for the verbal component that you removed.


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Casting a spell is done using the "Cast a Spell" activity. The Cast a Spell activity is unambiguous about how many actions it takes: "Casting a Spell is a special activity that takes a variable number of actions depending on the spell, as listed in each spell’s stat block." Nothing in the rules for the Cast a Spell activity links the number of actions to the number of components in any way. It happens that many spells that cost one to three actions - either as a flavor thing or as an artifact of how the system used to work - have the same number of components as required actions, but in the final version of PF2 those two things are entirely decoupled.

Exo-Guardians

Squiggit wrote:
mrspaghetti wrote:
I don't think it's overstating to say that Quickened would be OP if not limited to once per day.
Yes, but Silent Spell isn't Quickened. If Silent removed an action, you'd be spending one action to remove one action, which would be net neutral action economy. All you'd gain is the actual benefits of Silent. Which, again, I'm having trouble believing would be as devastating to game balance as some of the posts in this thread are implying.

I feel like if Silent Spell were intended to be action-neutral, it would simply be a free action.


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There was change from Playtest, actions are no longer directly correlated to components, even if they "often" coincide that isn't mechanical rule but just de facto result of most spells having 2 actions and 2 components. But you can easily find 1 action spells with 2 components.

Each spell action is no longer directly tied to specific component (as in Playtest 'somatic action', 'material action' etc), so removing components doesn't change number of actions: It's just removing traits which carry vulnerabilities to AoOs or restrictions on the caster's wielding, or allow easy recognition of spellcasting etc.

Liberty's Edge

Then what is the purpose for creating a distinction between substituting components and removing components? And what does it mean to remove. Component? Does the caster just stand there doing nothing for the time it takes to spend one action?

Liberty's Edge

Saros Palanthios wrote:
I feel like if Silent Spell were intended to be action-neutral, it would simply be a free action.

Action-neutral and a free action aren’t the same thing because an action spent to activate Silent Spell is an action you aren’t devoting to the Cast a Spell activity, and that alone can impact the spell.


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Squiggit wrote:
mrspaghetti wrote:
I don't think it's overstating to say that Quickened would be OP if not limited to once per day.
Yes, but Silent Spell isn't Quickened. If Silent removed an action, you'd be spending one action to remove one action, which would be net neutral action economy. All you'd gain is the actual benefits of Silent. Which, again, I'm having trouble believing would be as devastating to game balance as some of the posts in this thread are implying.

I agree with all of that. Here's another thought.

Looking at metamagic on the whole, I must say they provide pretty minimal benefit across the board.

*Reach: add 30 ft of range
*Widen: add 5 or 10 feet to a come or radius
*Conceal: get a chance to hide the fact that you're casting a spell
*Quicken: shorten one single spell by one action, one single time per day

In other words, "meh".

In that context, I think the more limiting interpretation of Silent that seems to be the consensus here makes sense from a consistency standpoint.


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Saros Palanthios wrote:


I feel like if Silent Spell were intended to be action-neutral, it would simply be a free action.

Oh I'm not arguing that this is intentional. I just disagree with the assertion that free silent spell would be all that problematic.

"mrspaghetti wrote:
In other words, "meh".

That's a pretty fair assessment tbh.


Free Silent Spell + heightened Invisibility might be problematic.


whew wrote:
Free Silent Spell + heightened Invisibility might be problematic.

Possibly, but only if the spell had no other effects that give away the caster. For those cases Silent would seem to offer a bigger benefit than other metamagic, which imo kinda supports the idea that it shouldn't remove an action from the spell.


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Silent spell's main uses, IMO, are when you are underwater, when you are casting while stealthing (or maybe quietly prebuffing in another room before a fight), and when you are invisible. You can also prevent someone from knowing the spells you cast by breaking line of sight, which could be handy. It is very strong in these niches, so I don't think it needs this "buff" compared to other metamagics anyways. It's the same as other metamagics, it takes 1 extra action to add a small effect.

In particular, making it free would mean an invisible spell caster could be freely casting spells which don't reveal their location, and also moving around the battlefield constantly, making them very hard to pin down (they still can with haste though) . With it taking an extra action they have to weigh whether that's worth staying in place.

I think it's highly valuable for an illusionist.


All things considered, the only metamagic I'd probably spend a class feat on would be Reach, and that only because it gives touch spells at least some range. The others just don't seem worth it, for the most part. Conceal and Silent would be good choices if you had a particularly stealthy or deception-based concept, but that's about it.

Liberty's Edge

BellyBeard wrote:
.In particular, making it free would mean an invisible spell caster could be freely casting spells which don't reveal their location, and also moving around the battlefield constantly, making them very hard to pin down (they still can with haste though) . With it taking an extra action they have to weigh whether that's worth staying in place.

That’s the first balance argument I’ve heard that I buy, and it’s a really good one.


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Luke Styer wrote:
That’s the first balance argument I’ve heard that I buy, and it’s a really good one.

It's pretty compelling, but it's still two feats, skill investment and a fourth level spell slot every combat just to be harder to kill, which isn't exactly a trivial investment.

And even if you're making your conceal checks every round you're still giving away your position if you cast any spell with obvious effects.

It's certainly a powerful combination, but it's also a fairly high level tactic and a pretty significant amount of investment aimed almost entirely at survivability.


Luke Styer wrote:
BellyBeard wrote:
.In particular, making it free would mean an invisible spell caster could be freely casting spells which don't reveal their location, and also moving around the battlefield constantly, making them very hard to pin down (they still can with haste though) . With it taking an extra action they have to weigh whether that's worth staying in place.
That’s the first balance argument I’ve heard that I buy, and it’s a really good one.

I mean, sure, but the alternative is to use greater invisibility, and each round, cast your spell, then move to a different location. While not having your opponents know where you were before a move action is useful, it's also not game breaking at the cost of 2 feats, a 4th level spell slot, and a round to set up. Basically, what @Squiggit said with the alternative mentioned.


tivadar27 wrote:
I mean, sure, but the alternative is to use greater invisibility, and each round, cast your spell, then move to a different location. While not having your opponents know where you were before a move action is useful, it's also not game breaking at the cost of 2 feats, a 4th level spell slot, and a round to set up. Basically, what @Squiggit said with the alternative mentioned.

Wait, how does this differ if you don't use Silent Spell?

Liberty's Edge

Squiggit wrote:
And even if you're making your conceal checks every round you're still giving away your position if you cast any spell with obvious effects.

I’m not certain you need to make conceal checks if you’re invisible and casting silently. If no one sees you and no one hears you, they aren’t going to detect you casting. The issue of giving away your position through obvious effects is sort of the point, though. If Silent Spell is action-neutral, you can silent-cast a two-action spell, “give away your position” with the obvious effects, and then stride to another place entirely. Having given away your position with spell effects is almost an advantage because you won’t be there anymore when the enemies start directing attacks at that position.

Quote:
It's certainly a powerful combination, but it's also a fairly high level tactic and a pretty significant amount of investment aimed almost entirely at survivability.

Not just survivabilty, there’s almost an element of battlefield control if you can cast flashy spells in one place and stride away before enemies respond. It’s likely not something you can pull every combat, but when it works it would wreak havoc.

I was initially thinking more about the trouble an NPC could cause with the combination of effects than a PC because of the heavy investment. It doesn’t add up to such a heavy cost for an NPC or monster who will probably only be on stage for a single encounter.


Luke Styer wrote:


Quote:
It's certainly a powerful combination, but it's also a fairly high level tactic and a pretty significant amount of investment aimed almost entirely at survivability.

Not just survivabilty, there’s almost an element of battlefield control if you can cast flashy spells in one place and stride away before enemies respond. It’s likely not something you can pull every combat, but when it works it would wreak havoc.

Again, how is this significantly different from if you don't have silent spell? You can do the exact same thing except with silent spell, they'd know where you were when you cast (but not after you moved). Without it, they wouldn't. It really sounds as if your complaint is more with "Greater" Invisibility.


Luke Styer wrote:


I’m not certain you need to make conceal checks if you’re invisible and casting silently.

Spellcasting has obvious visual manifestations associated with it and I don't really see anything about invisibility that suggests they're innately suppressed.

Liberty's Edge

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tivadar27 wrote:
Again, how is this significantly different from if you don't have silent spell?

It may not be, in which case we’re back to the idea that action-neutral Silent Spell is no big deal.

Liberty's Edge

Squiggit wrote:
Spellcasting has obvious visual manifestations associated with it and I don't really see anything about invisibility that suggests they're innately suppressed.

Does spellcasting have obvious visual manifestations or do spells? If spellcasting has obvious visual manifestations then I’d expect that Invisibility hides them just as effectively as it hides the obvious visible manifestation of putting your hands in the air and waving ‘em like you just don’t care. If the spell has an obvious visual manifestation, I don’t think Invisibility probably does anything about that.


I was assuming invisibility would hide the somatic components, Silent Spell would hide the verbal components, and for buff spells and similar there wouldn't be any other visual indication. However, after rereading,

p. 302 wrote:
When you Cast a Spell, your spellcasting creates obvious visual manifestations of the gathering magic, although feats such as Conceal Spell and Melodious Spell can help hide such manifestations or otherwise prevent observers from noticing that you are casting.

This explains that there are other visual indicators, besides the somatic components, involved in spell casting. This would mean an invisible character casting spells would reveal their location, as the "gathering magic" is not invisible, unless they use Conceal Spell. Therefore Silent Spell does not benefit an invisible spell caster.

That means Silent Spell's niches include being underwater and hiding your casting while out of line of sight. This means it's less powerful than I was giving credit for.


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BellyBeard wrote:
This would mean an invisible character casting spells would reveal their location, as the "gathering magic" is not invisible, unless they use Conceal Spell. Therefore Silent Spell does not benefit an invisible spell caster

Except that when you use Silent Spell, you get the benefits of Conceal as well.


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Silent Spell is a 1 action activity
It negates the verbal component of the subsequent spell
The verbal component would normally have added an action of its own to the spell
The spell now has one less action

Quickened Casting is a free action activvity
It reduces the action count of the subsequent spell
The spell now has one less action

For illustration, assume a spell with verbal and somatic components, requiring 2 actions to cast:

No metamagic: 2 action spell, 2 actions, verbal components are heard
Silent Spell: 2 action spell, 2 actions (Silent Spell + somatic), verbal components are not heard, synergizes with Conceal Spell
Quickened Casting: 2 action spell, 1 action, verbal component still heard, requires spell 2 levels lower than max, no synergy with Conceal Spell

That's how I would rule it.

Silent Spell removes a specific type of component for stealth purposes, but the overall casting time is not reduced because Silent Spell itself requires an action.

Quickened Casting reduces the action count, but I read it as the components still being required. The action economy is improved but you get no stealth.

Seems balanced to me.

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