What is a magical effect?


Rules Discussion


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

For the purposes of abilities like the ancient-blooded dwarf's Call On Ancient Blood ability, or many outsiders' bonuses to saves against magic, what exactly is considered a "magical effect?"

Does a GM just have to wing it on a case by case basis, or is it more clearly defined, such as with the Magical trait?

My friend's dwarf was enveloped by a Ceustodaemon's fiery breath weapon last weekend. It quite nearly killed him. He asked me if it was a magical effect and, since the monster's stat block didn't indicate either way, I wasn't immediately able to answer. It's clearly listed as a divine, evocation, fire effect, but nothing denotes it is magical in nature. In P1E, it would be listed as supernatural (SU) or extraordinary (EX), but in P2E, there appear to be no such indicators outside the Magical trait.

Fire breathing fiends strike me as pretty magical, so after a moment's pause, I told him that I was ruling that it was a magic effect, and that I would delve more deeply into the matter after the game.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Magical is the tag used for magical effects that aren't one of the 4 traditions. Effects that are tied use the appropriate tag, such as "Divine" or 'Primal."

From both the CRB and Beastiary

Magical Trait wrote:

Something with the magical trait is imbued with magical energies not tied to a specific tradition of magic. A magical item radiates a magic aura infused with its dominant school of magic.

Some items or effects are closely tied to a particular tradition of magic. In these cases, the item has the arcane, divine, occult, or primal trait instead of the magical trait. Any of these traits indicate that the item is magical.

It only says item, but given the rest of the description I can only assume it was meant to describe both effects and items. So I think you made the right call.

Spells themselves follow these guidelines too. A spell linked to a particular tradition has the appropriate tag or tags, but a spell that all traditions can do simply has the "Magical" trait.


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

Since writing my post, I've also found that all the tradition trait descriptions specifically state that anything with them as a trait are considered magical.

Still, for many abilities, it's not immediately obvious.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Oh for sure.


Ravingdork wrote:
Still, for many abilities, it's not immediately obvious.

such as?


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
thenobledrake wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
Still, for many abilities, it's not immediately obvious.
such as?

- Lyrakian starlight blast

- Flash beetle's light flash
- Cloaker's infrasonic moan
- Dero magister's cytillesh stare

...just to name a few.

It's not even clear that some of them are considered attacks.

I imagine some are not meant to have the magical or attack traits, but I still expect that future errata will deal a lot with missing or incorrect traits.


I feel like all of those examples are immediately obvious as to whether they are or aren't magical. I'm kind of curious if this is a situation where you've got a gut feeling about which way each of those goes and you're just over-thinking the situation because there isn't an explicit tag saying "your gut is correct."

As for considering something an attack... besides for MAP which none of those traits seems to "need" in order to make sense, is there a reason to care what is or isn't considered an attack?


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
thenobledrake wrote:

I feel like all of those examples are immediately obvious as to whether they are or aren't magical. I'm kind of curious if this is a situation where you've got a gut feeling about which way each of those goes and you're just over-thinking the situation because there isn't an explicit tag saying "your gut is correct."

As for considering something an attack... besides for MAP which none of those traits seems to "need" in order to make sense, is there a reason to care what is or isn't considered an attack?

Invisibility comes to mind. :P


Ravingdork wrote:
Invisibility comes to mind. :P

It shouldn't, since this edition invisibility is broken by "hostile action" rather than by things which are specifically labeled as attacks.


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

*sigh*

So many stringent people in Second.


Welp, consider me lost as to what you are even talking about then.


Ravingdork wrote:

*sigh*

So many stringent people in Second.

I'm, kind of confused how a rules interpretation that emphasizes going with what you intuit making sense over needing strictly defined traits on every attack is considered more stringent.

That's the opposite of what stringent means.


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

.

.

.

Allow me to rephrase:

So many serious people in Second. No humor in sight.

Guess it doesn't translate into text well.

Or I'm just weird.

Or both.

;D


Or you made a joke that was entirely impossible to recognize as not being you misunderstanding the rules you were just a moment ago talking about in earnest, and as a result people got confused.

there was no way to know, even with your lil emoji, that you were making a joke rather than being sassy while telling me a thing you thought I was not aware of.


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

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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