Heightened Spells


Rules Discussion


Page 193, "Signature Spell", says the following:

CRB wrote:
You’ve learned to cast some of your spells more flexibly. For each spell level you have access to, choose one spell of that level to be a signature spell. You don’t need to learn heightened versions of signature spells separately; instead, you can heighten these spells freely. If you’ve learned a signature spell at a higher level than its minimum, you can also cast all its lower-level versions without learning those separately. If you swap out a signature spell, you can choose a replacement signature spell of the same spell level at which you learned the previous spell. You can also retrain specifically to change a signature spell to a different spell of that level without swapping any spells; this takes as much time as retraining a spell normally does.

This, on my read, suggests that if a spell is NOT a signature spell you have to actually know it at a higher level. I.e.: My repertoire would include both 1st and 3rd level magic missile. Am I reading this right? Is it not as simple as just as casting magic missile in a 3rd level spell slot?

Or does this mean that I can cast 3rd level magic missile AS a 1st level spell if it IS my signature spell?


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As a sorcerer or other spontaneous spellcaster, you must have a spell in your spell repertory at a higher level (or lower level) in order to cast it at that level *unless* it is a signature spell. If you don't, you can't cast it at an improved (or reduced) level.

Only prepared spellcasters (like wizards) can prepare a spell at a higher (or lower) spell level irregardless of the level you *know* it at.


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Wheldrake wrote:

As a sorcerer or other spontaneous spellcaster, you must have a spell in your spell repertory at a higher level (or lower level) in order to cast it at that level *unless* it is a signature spell. If you don't, you can't cast it at an improved (or reduced) level.

Only prepared spellcasters (like wizards) can prepare a spell at a higher (or lower) spell level irregardless of the level you *know* it at.

Sorcerers wrote:
Oof


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that's the downside of not having to guess how many castings of which spell you're going to need in advance


thenobledrake wrote:
that's the downside of not having to guess how many castings of which spell you're going to need in advance

Wizards don't have to guess either thanks to one Arcane Thesis option.


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There's an Arcane Thesis option that guarantees every challenge you could answer with a spell will wait until you can finish mitigating your incorrect guess?! I had no idea! /s


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Filthy Lucre wrote:
thenobledrake wrote:
that's the downside of not having to guess how many castings of which spell you're going to need in advance
Wizards don't have to guess either thanks to one Arcane Thesis option.

Good luck in having 10 minutes to exchange a spell when fighting for your life...


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Demonknight wrote:
Filthy Lucre wrote:
thenobledrake wrote:
that's the downside of not having to guess how many castings of which spell you're going to need in advance
Wizards don't have to guess either thanks to one Arcane Thesis option.
Good luck in having 10 minutes to exchange a spell when fighting for your life...

Why assume that a wizard with Arcane Thesis wouldn't just prepare generic combat spells (the type a sorcerer would learn) and switch out to a specific spell needed (that the sorcerer couldn't afford to learn) in the 10 minute interval? And if you think about it, a universalist wizard is already partway to being a spontaneous caster, what with the Arcane Bond letting it spontaneously cast one of its prepared spell each level. Prepared "fireball" once but need it twice, just drain your Bond for that level.


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Bluescale wrote:
Why assume that a wizard with Arcane Thesis wouldn't just prepare generic combat spells (the type a sorcerer would learn) and switch out to a specific spell needed (that the sorcerer couldn't afford to learn) in the 10 minute interval? And if you think about it, a universalist wizard is already partway to being a spontaneous caster, what with the Arcane Bond letting it spontaneously cast one of its prepared spell each level. Prepared "fireball" once but need it twice, just drain your Bond for that level.

Why assume "generic combat spells" are both the type of thing that a sorcerer would learn and the most likely answer to the question "What spells would I most benefit from today?"

Also, just because a situation is "non-combat" doesn't mean it's on a slow enough time scale that you can guarantee no issues arise from adding 10 minutes to how long you take to deal with it.

And a universalist draining their bond is a thing that rewards having guessed what kind of spells you'll need, not something that mitigates having guessed poorly. That second fireball is only really a bonus if you actually had good reason to cast fireball both before this point and at this point in your day - and that's not actually always the case, even when sticking to the typical layout of an adventure path.


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thenobledrake wrote:

Why assume "generic combat spells" are both the type of thing that a sorcerer would learn and the most likely answer to the question "What spells would I most benefit from today?"

Also, just because a situation is "non-combat" doesn't mean it's on a slow enough time scale that you can guarantee no issues arise from adding 10 minutes to how long you take to deal with it.

And a universalist draining their bond is a thing that rewards having guessed what kind of spells you'll need, not something that mitigates having guessed poorly. That second fireball is only really a bonus if you actually had good reason to cast fireball both before this point and at this point in your day - and that's not actually always the case, even when sticking to the typical layout of an adventure path.

It doesn't have to be combat spells, but most arguments that say an arcane sorcerer had an advantage over a wizard involve recasting a spell in combat, which most often means a damage-dealing, buff, or debuff spell. These are the ones most likely to be needed on a moment's notice, and a wizard with Arcane Thesis would generally benefit more from preparing the same spells and swapping out as needed (unless they had specific foreknowledge that another spell was needed). Utility spells tend to be more granular, so the chance that the sorcerer knows the right spell to spontaneously cast outside of combat is low, so the sorcerer and the wizard are about the same in an under 10 minute situation needing a utility spell.


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Most heightened spells used to be either separate spells, or things you needed a feat for in the previous edition.

Invisibility is both 1e invisibility and 1e greater invisibility.
Fireball is both 1e fireball and 1e empowered fireball (and also various other metamagics).
You can keep going with the comparisons if you like.

Signature spells grant you a huge number of free spells, on top of an already decent repertoire, while still keeping room for choice, and I'm ok with that. Try making a high level sorcerer, or bard, and see how many spells you end up with.

My group's Bard (lv10) has 15 base known spells, plus 11 in bonus spells from signatures. Those would be Soothe, Illusory Creature, Dispel Magic, Phantasmal Killer, and she hasn't picked one for 5th level yet. She's considering Magic Missile (which would bring her to a total of 28 known spells). Yes, signature spells work in reverse.

For Clerics and other divine prepared, this changes absolutely nothing except removing the need for metamagic scaling feats. For spellbook casters, it reduces their money sinking requirements. For spontaneous, it's free spells. Take them.


@Ediwir, sorry if I intrude, but can you maybe post the list of spells known and which signature spells are of your group's bard, each with its level? I have a question but before I post it I really need to see other picks and choices of Spells/Signature Spells. Thanks!


Uh, let's see...
5th synesthesia, mind probe, sending;
4th restoration, phantasmal killer*, dimension door;
3rd dispel magic*, mind reading, hypercognition, phantom pain;
2nd illusory creature*, invisibility, see invisibility;
1st soothe*, illusory object, mindlink, command.

...something's not right. This is from the spell page, which being roll20 includes pretty much every spell she has macro'd - I'm guessing something is from a wand or item. I haven't had to check people's sheets in a while.
Signature spells are starred and not reported in each level. Expanded list would be,

5th synesthesia, mind probe, illusory creature, phantasmal killer, sending, soothe;
4th dispel magic, illusory creature, restoration, phantasmal killer, soothe, dimension door;
3rd dispel magic, mind reading, illusory creature, hypercognition, phantom pain, soothe;
2nd dispel magic, illusory creature, invisibility, see invisibility, soothe;
1st soothe, illusory object, mindlink, command.

Note that there she has access to several Uncommon mind-themed spells because of flavour/campaign reasons.


Ediwir wrote:

Most heightened spells used to be either separate spells, or things you needed a feat for in the previous edition.

Invisibility is both 1e invisibility and 1e greater invisibility.
Fireball is both 1e fireball and 1e empowered fireball (and also various other metamagics).
You can keep going with the comparisons if you like.

Signature spells grant you a huge number of free spells, on top of an already decent repertoire, while still keeping room for choice, and I'm ok with that. Try making a high level sorcerer, or bard, and see how many spells you end up with.

My group's Bard (lv10) has 15 base known spells, plus 11 in bonus spells from signatures. Those would be Soothe, Illusory Creature, Dispel Magic, Phantasmal Killer, and she hasn't picked one for 5th level yet. She's considering Magic Missile (which would bring her to a total of 28 known spells). Yes, signature spells work in reverse.

For Clerics and other divine prepared, this changes absolutely nothing except removing the need for metamagic scaling feats. For spellbook casters, it reduces their money sinking requirements. For spontaneous, it's free spells. Take them.

This. A 10th level sorcerer makes out even better. They have 8 options they can cast from their top level slots. And that only goes up from there.


Ediwir wrote:
My group's Bard (lv10) has 15 base known spells, plus 11 in bonus spells from signatures. Those would be Soothe, Illusory Creature, Dispel Magic, Phantasmal Killer, and she hasn't picked one for 5th level yet. She's considering Magic Missile (which would bring her to a total of 28 known spells). Yes, signature spells work in reverse.

For what it's worth I'd recommend that route too. Magic Missile is great and I love it, particularly with the new variable casting time if you want to turret up and bombard, but there are lots of little funtime 1st-level spells I would rather take if I had the option.


Ediwir wrote:

Uh, let's see...

5th synesthesia, mind probe, sending;
4th restoration, phantasmal killer*, dimension door;
3rd dispel magic*, mind reading, hypercognition, phantom pain;
2nd illusory creature*, invisibility, see invisibility;
1st soothe*, illusory object, mindlink, command.

...something's not right. This is from the spell page, which being roll20 includes pretty much every spell she has macro'd - I'm guessing something is from a wand or item. I haven't had to check people's sheets in a while.
Signature spells are starred and not reported in each level. Expanded list would be,

5th synesthesia, mind probe, illusory creature, phantasmal killer, sending, soothe;
4th dispel magic, illusory creature, restoration, phantasmal killer, soothe, dimension door;
3rd dispel magic, mind reading, illusory creature, hypercognition, phantom pain, soothe;
2nd dispel magic, illusory creature, invisibility, see invisibility, soothe;
1st soothe, illusory object, mindlink, command.

Note that there she has access to several Uncommon mind-themed spells because of flavour/campaign reasons.

Thank you Ediwir, it seems I didn't understood exactly the text of Signature Spells because your Bard is not the only player I've seen that made these choices for her Signature Spells. Thanks again, no further questions!

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