Can I do this? Basically substituting out higher level spell slots for lower ones.


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If I have 3 level 2 spells to cast and 3 level 1 spells to cast, can I instead of using my 3 level 2 slots use them to cast more level 1 spells?

Grand Lodge

Atalius wrote:
If I have 3 level 2 spells to cast and 3 level 1 spells to cast, can I instead of using my 3 level 2 slots use them to cast more level 1 spells?

It depends on your class. A wizard can freely heighten a spell from level one to two, but a sorcerer cannot as an example.


I want to do the opposite, I'm a spontaneous caster, I wanna spend a second level spell slot to cast a first level spell. Don't ask me why, I just need more of that level 1 spell, three may not do.


In other words: Can a 10th level sorcerer cast True Strike 20 times


I understand this is not about Heighten. The rules allow for specific ways you CAN Heighten spells (easiest for Prepared Casters) to cast with higher level slots. But those rules don't speak to whether you can use those slots for non-Heightened spells, in which case restrictions on Heightening don't matter. Obviously a Prepared Caster will generally be happy to always Heighten these, as it comes at no cost to them and a non-Heightened spell is always weaker than a Heightened one if only for purpose of resisting Counterspell. So the question is, can you cast the weaker non-Heightened version in the high level slot, even though it is "wasting" the slot's power in a certain sense.

What it comes down to is in Sorceror Repertoire wording, which says "You can cast any spell in your spell repertoire by using a spell slot of an appropriate spell level."

OK, so what's "appropriate"? Rules don't say. EDIT: SEE BELOW POST

Most people would say if you can fit a full size refrigerator in your pick-up truck bed, you can also fit a picnic cooler in it, and the pick-up truck bed is "appropriate" to hold the picnic cooler. Despite that common sense, other people think "appropriate" means "exactly the same spell level" i.e. Heighten is REQUIRED in order to cast in high level slot.

This question has been asked, and hasn't been officially answered yet AFAIK. I can see why it wasn't in top max priority issues they issued early FAQ on, but hopefully it gets addressed sooner or later, because it is pretty fundamental rule issue, where the RAW is not strictly clear one way or the other.

EDIT: Here is post of mine (from Playtest or between it and final rules release) that gets into this issue from angle of comparing it to 1E rules. 1E had wording more in favor of allowing "casting in higher slots without heighten" (explicit reference to "of that level or higher") but also had wording contradicting that, saying casting a spell counts against daily slots of that spell level (not that spell level or higher). Since people uncontroversially acccepted this to work in 1E despite contradictory text, I think it's just as or more justified in 2E.


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"You can cast any spell in your spell repertoire by using a spell slot of an appropriate spell level."

The fact that it says "AN appropriate level" stands out to me... that implies that there is more than one appropriate level. If it said "the appropriate level" it would be pretty clear that it was the level of the spell. But actually this seems to indicate in the other direction. Maybe 20 true strike sorcerer is real after all


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Absolutely, I agree that is positive evidence it is allowed, and there is nothing specifically indicating otherwise. If Paizo doesn't intend this to be allowed, they need to Errata that to singular "the".

Clearly a controversial topic that deserves a FAQ or official response, and personally, I feel in the interests of clarity the RAW should be Errata'd to spell that out explicitly if it's intended to work like that (wouldn't need many words, really). But with grammar 100% congruent with "multiple appropriate levels", Errata or even FAQ isn't formally necessary, and people can fairly assume that is standard rules until Paizo says otherwise.

Grand Lodge

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Quandary wrote:
Absolutely, I agree that is direct positive evidence it is allowed. Ruling otherwise would be contradicting that grammatic usage, and if Paizo doesn't intend this to be allowed, they need to Errata that to singular "the". Clearly a controversial topic that deserves a FAQ or official response just for clarity, but I agree that strict reading of that indicates it is fully allowed by rules, and people should feel free to play with that understanding until Paizo says otherwise.

My advice would be to check with your GM. An appropriate spell level may also be regarding the heightening as well, which would allow multiple spell levels.

I agree that this needs an FAQ, because it's not 100% clear that the intention was to allow that spell level or higher, or just to cover heightened spells.

That being said, I would allow if in my games, because I don't really see a reason to say "you have this extra arcane power, too bad it's too strong for this spell"

As a reminder though, sorcerers can freely heighten their signature spells, and if it's your go to spell, it should likely be your signature spell.


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Obviously everybody at table, PCs and GM, should be on same page about rules functionality. GM (or other PCs) being more restricted in basic rules than PCs is absurd, so this should definitely be discussed if there's any question of differing assumptions within group, and I wasn't suggesting otherwise (or aiming my comment at PC players more than GMs).

But I don't see why "an" wording is explained by potential Heighten, when "the" wording would work just as well for Heighten. A Fireball Heightened to 5th level IS a 5th level spell. If it can only be cast in 5th level slots (and not above without more Heightening) then there is no reason to use "an" and not "the".

As I said, I would prefer explicit clarity from Paizo. But this question was asked basically from the very beginning and we still have no official answer. And *IF* Paizo DOESN'T intend permissive reading, then lots of people using the 100% RAW-congruent permissive functionality seems best way to prompt an official clarification to the contrary. I wouldn't say this even if I thought the RAW was equally plausible either way (as I thought in previous post before the grammar was brought to my attention), but I can't honestly say otherwise when aware of that detail. I don't believe that strictly proves Paizo's INTENT, since small grammar mistakes frequently occur, but that is all we have for now.


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theservantsllcleanitup wrote:

"You can cast any spell in your spell repertoire by using a spell slot of an appropriate spell level."

The fact that it says "AN appropriate level" stands out to me... that implies that there is more than one appropriate level. If it said "the appropriate level" it would be pretty clear that it was the level of the spell. But actually this seems to indicate in the other direction. Maybe 20 true strike sorcerer is real after all

I disagree that the use of "an" makes the intent as clear-cut as you say. "An" allows for that interpretation, sure, but it also fits with the other interpretation (that 2nd-level spell slots may not be downgraded for 1st-level spells cast at 1st-level power).

Say you know Burning Hands as a 1st-level non-signature spell, Invisibility as a 2nd-level non-signature spell, and Lightning Bolt as a 3rd-level non-signature spell. Under the interpretation that spell slots can't be downgraded, THE appropriate spell slot for Burning Hands is 1st-level and 1st-level only. THE appropriate spell slot for Invisibility is 2nd-level and 2nd-level only, and THE appropriate spell slot for Lightning Bolt is 3rd-level and 3rd-level only. But when talking about your spells as a collective group, the language would still be that you would spend AN appropriate spell slot, since your spells at all but the lowest levels are assumed to be of multiple levels.

This definitely needs to be cleared up, and while I hope it's clarified in a manner that allows for, say, wagons to carry picnic coolers and flatbed trucks to carry refrigerators AND picnic coolers, we're not already there just by virtue of "an".


From a game mechanic/power level point of view using a higher level slot to cast a lower level spell adds a bit of utility to a spontaneous caster but no real power. It's wasting the strength of higher level slots to cast something weaker but possibly more appropriate. I'd have no issue with this as a GM. It kinda addresses the lack of utility Sorcerers have via their limited spells known vs a wizards spell book. Though I'd be sure to let them know it was cast at that level with no heightening effect.


My interpretation has been no, not technically allowed but as a GM I would allow it since it's typical "wasting" a spell slot to do and is really only something a sorcerer would do, unless a wizard wanted to commit to casting under leveled spells in advance.

It adds versatility, but not power.

Sovereign Court

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This question comes up frequently, so it certainly deserves an FAQ. I think the book says exactly what Paizo intended it to say, so it wasn't errata'd. But it does need an FAQ for clarification because people keep stumbling over this.

---

Basically, the only way the CRB gives you to cast a spell out of a higher level slot, is by heightening. Because the level of a spell is always the level of the slot from which it's cast:

CRB p. 299 wrote:

Heightened Spells

Both prepared and spontaneous spellcasters can cast a spell at a higher spell level than that listed for the spell. This is called heightening the spell. A prepared spellcaster can heighten a spell by preparing it in a higher-level slot than its normal spell level, while a spontaneous spellcaster can heighten a spell by casting it using a higher-level spell slot, so long as they know the spell at that level (see Heightened Spontaneous Spells below). When you heighten your spell, the spell’s level increases to match the higher level of the spell slot you’ve prepared it in or used to cast it. This is useful for any spell, because some effects, such as counteracting, depend on the spell’s level.

You might say "I don't want to heighten, I just want to use a higher level slot while keeping the spell low-level. Well, the CRB gives you no way to do so. It's not possible to do so, because the book never describes a way to do so.


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Core Rulebook, page 299 under Heightened Spontaneous Spells:

If you’re a spontaneous spellcaster, you must know a spell at the specific level that you want to cast it in order to heighten it. You can add a spell to your spell repertoire at more than a single level so that you have more options when casting it. For example, if you added fireball to your repertoire as a 3rd-level spell and again as a 5th-level spell, you could cast it as a 3rd-level or a 5th-level spell; however, you couldn’t cast it as a 4th-level spell.

At first I thought this meant the answer was no, but then I realized it says you can't cast it as a 4th-level spell, not that you couldn't cast it from a 4th-level spell slot.

I've asked this very question myself, as have others.


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It says "AN appropriate level" because Signature Spells are a thing.


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I'm in the camp of "you need to know the spell at the level you cast it, or it needs to be a Signature Spell for you". This came from me (and likely others) complaining about the discrepancy between prepared and spontaneous multiclass casters, which was addressed in the errata by giving spontaneous multiclass casters one Signature Spell per MC spellcasting feat they took. If you watch the video about the first errata update on YouTube, at ~16:17 they talk about this problem. Mark Seifter specifically calls them out as "Not spontaneous at all; just prepared casters that can't re-prepare". So this strongly leads me to believe that the design intent is that you can't do this.

Horizon Hunters

First World Bard wrote:
I'm in the camp of "you need to know the spell at the level you cast it, or it needs to be a Signature Spell for you". This came from me (and likely others) complaining about the discrepancy between prepared and spontaneous multiclass casters, which was addressed in the errata by giving spontaneous multiclass casters one Signature Spell per MC spellcasting feat they took. If you watch the video about the first errata update on YouTube, at ~16:17 they talk about this problem. Mark Seifter specifically calls them out as "Not spontaneous at all; just prepared casters that can't re-prepare". So this strongly leads me to believe that the design intent is that you can't do this.

So I am interpreting the point they make in the video differently.

It seems to me what they are talking about is that when taking a spontaneous spellcasting archetype you didn't have options at which level to cast the spell so it didn't feel very spontaneous ( you don't have a lot of options because you have one thing to choose from and one level you can cast things at) they grant the ability to add a signature spell in the errata to make it possible to heighten that spell and give you flexibility. But that doesn't address the possibility of casting a lower level spell with a higher level slot.

In the scenario, they talk about how without the signature spell additional wording a spontaneous caster could only cast at the level they learned the spell and generally they only gained one spell slot at a time. This issue holds true whether or not you allow downcasting in your games as a downcasted spell is still cast at the level it is supposed to be at. It just consumes a higher level spell slot. They were merely introducing a heightening mechanism for spontaneity rather than making any sort of statement about downcasting.

In my mind "a prepared caster who can't reprepare" is a statement that points more towards allowing downcasting than denying it's possibility.


If you want to spend a 3rd-level spell slot on a 1st-level magic missile, go right ahead.


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GM OfAnything wrote:
If you want to spend a 3rd-level spell slot on a 1st-level magic missile, go right ahead.

That would be nice, but some are saying it's not allowed.


BTW, to address the Paizo YT video cited by FWB:
While I appreciate the inferrence you're making from it (which is certainly relevant), I don't think that's the only fair interpretation of that discussion.
If Sorceror MC only gives you one spell per spell level, that's incontrovertibly a really crappy excuse of a spont caster. Even considering casting low level spells in higher slots (un-Heightened) as technically making use of spont casting with higher slots (while not having multiple spont options of each spell level), that doesn't work for 1st level slot which remains entirely, unavoidably unspontaneous.
Whereas with Errata (SigSpell), now you can learn Heightened version of spell for higher spell level and use SigSpell to undercast it with 1st level slot (in addition to spontaneously Heightening low level spell for spont option of each higher spell level).

Sovereign Court

Ravingdork wrote:

Core Rulebook, page 299 under Heightened Spontaneous Spells:

If you’re a spontaneous spellcaster, you must know a spell at the specific level that you want to cast it in order to heighten it. You can add a spell to your spell repertoire at more than a single level so that you have more options when casting it. For example, if you added fireball to your repertoire as a 3rd-level spell and again as a 5th-level spell, you could cast it as a 3rd-level or a 5th-level spell; however, you couldn’t cast it as a 4th-level spell.

At first I thought this meant the answer was no, but then I realized it says you can't cast it as a 4th-level spell, not that you couldn't cast it from a 4th-level spell slot.

I've asked this very question myself, as have others.

I think that's a very stretched interpretation. There is nothing really saying you can cast a spell out of any slot other than one of the same level. Then there's a lot of text about one circumstance (heightening) under which you can cast a spell out of another level slot.

If there were really more than one way to cast a spell out of an alternative level slot, that would have to be called out somewhere.

I think "appropriate" is being desperately stretched, not because the text really says you can, but because it used to be possible in the previous edition and because people really want to, but they don't want to pay the price that the CRB puts on it (learn it a second time, or as a signature spell).

I think appropriate simply means: "a slot of the same level as the desired spell level".

Sovereign Court

Goldryno wrote:
First World Bard wrote:
I'm in the camp of "you need to know the spell at the level you cast it, or it needs to be a Signature Spell for you". This came from me (and likely others) complaining about the discrepancy between prepared and spontaneous multiclass casters, which was addressed in the errata by giving spontaneous multiclass casters one Signature Spell per MC spellcasting feat they took. If you watch the video about the first errata update on YouTube, at ~16:17 they talk about this problem. Mark Seifter specifically calls them out as "Not spontaneous at all; just prepared casters that can't re-prepare". So this strongly leads me to believe that the design intent is that you can't do this.

So I am interpreting the point they make in the video differently.

(...)

My take on this is: say you have a level 8 character that

took a Sorcerer dedication and Basic Spellcasting. So you learn a level 1, 2 and 3 spell and get a level 1, 2 and 3 spell slot.

Then they say that without the errata, there was nothing spontaneous about this spellcasting. It needs the signature spells feature to add any element of choice in it.

This implies that without signature spells, your only way of using your level 3 spell slot is using it for that one level 3 spell you know. You don't have the option of "spontaneously" using it to cast your level 1 or 2 spell another time.


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Atalius wrote:
That would be nice, but some are saying it's not allowed.

Atalius,

It's not uncommon for reasonable people to read the same set of rules and come away with different understandings of how things work. It was very true in Pathfinder 1st Edition, and will continue to be so in Pathfinder 2nd Edition. Ultimately, your GM needs to decide how this works at your table. If Paizo decides to clarify something (FAQ, messageboard post from a designer, etc), you can go back and change it. Or not, if that's what your table decides to do.

Sovereign Court

Atalius wrote:
GM OfAnything wrote:
If you want to spend a 3rd-level spell slot on a 1st-level magic missile, go right ahead.
That would be nice, but some are saying it's not allowed.

Rather:

The CRB very explicitly describes how you can cast a spell out of a higher level slot to heighten it, and that heightening potentially benefits all spells (by being harder to counter). However, spontaneous casters have limits on how they can heighten spells.

Apart from that, it doesn't describe any other way to use higher level slots, at least not in an obvious explicit way. Some people think that "using an appropriate spell slot" can be read to allow that, but I think they're kinda reaching.

The general writing style for PF2 is that if they very clearly describe method A, and don't mention method B at all, then probably only A exists.


Ascalaphus wrote:
Atalius wrote:
GM OfAnything wrote:
If you want to spend a 3rd-level spell slot on a 1st-level magic missile, go right ahead.
That would be nice, but some are saying it's not allowed.

Rather:

The CRB very explicitly describes how you can cast a spell out of a higher level slot to heighten it, and that heightening potentially benefits all spells (by being harder to counter). However, spontaneous casters have limits on how they can heighten spells.

Apart from that, it doesn't describe any other way to use higher level slots, at least not in an obvious explicit way. Some people think that "using an appropriate spell slot" can be read to allow that, but I think they're kinda reaching.

The general writing style for PF2 is that if they very clearly describe method A, and don't mention method B at all, then probably only A exists.

Or, the rules very clearly describe the new concept, but assume some previous knowledge about spontaneous casting.


If words matter, then choice of phrasing matters. If Paizo intended restrictive mechanic, avoiding ambiguity is reasonable expectation to convey restriction. Nobody has even claimed explicit affirmation is necessary to establish reasonable reading (although probably is good idea), but mere unambiguous grammatic congruence is low bar that hasn't been met.

While "an" could plausibly be compatible with restrictive function equally as with permissive function, "the" is more strongly congruent with restrictive function (including Heighten) while clearly excluding the permissive function. If words matter, the choice to not use clear indication of A and instead use ambiguous indication of either A or B seems more congruous with intention B. That's certainly not a massively strong indication, but in absense of any solider evidence towards either way, that's all we got, so I think the assumption would have to lean towards B (permissive) until otherwise clarified or errata'd.

Presuming that in lack of explicit rules text, the usage of "appropriate" somehow lost it's normal English meaning and can be assumed to mean "exactly of one specific type" (when there are more specific English words if one means "exactly of one specific type") in order to sustain particular reading of ambiguous grammar (that was used despite valid alternative unambiguously indicating other function) seems to devolve to not treating words and editorial choices as if they matter.

Definitely a good question for Paizo to resolve, sooner or later, to establish baseline mechanics.


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Quandary wrote:
While "an" could plausibly be compatible with restrictive function equally as with permissive function, "the" is more strongly congruent with restrictive function (including Heighten) while clearly excluding the permissive function.

They don't seem to be consistent with "an appropriate" vs "the appropriate". Stuidious Capacity (Bard Feat 16) says (emphasis mine): You can cast one spell each day even after you’ve run out of spell slots of the appropriate spell level, but you can’t use this ability to cast a spell of your highest spell level.

As an aside, this feat is certainly stronger under the restrictive reading than the permissive reading; under the permissive reading it just gives you an extra spell slot of your second highest level, which... is underwhelming for a 16th level class feat, I would think.


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Claxon wrote:

My interpretation has been no, not technically allowed but as a GM I would allow it since it's typical "wasting" a spell slot to do and is really only something a sorcerer would do, unless a wizard wanted to commit to casting under leveled spells in advance.

It adds versatility, but not power.

I was in this camp, but have reconsidered. Mostly because I have a 12th level spontaneous caster with Read Omens in my group. Coming up with 3 or 4 cryptic rhyming clues per day is hard enough, but when he started using his unspent 5th and 6th level slots before bed it made me want to pull my hair out. Just way too much work for me.

Now that's a corner case and all but there may be other issues like it.


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Captain Morgan wrote:
Claxon wrote:

My interpretation has been no, not technically allowed but as a GM I would allow it since it's typical "wasting" a spell slot to do and is really only something a sorcerer would do, unless a wizard wanted to commit to casting under leveled spells in advance.

It adds versatility, but not power.

I was in this camp, but have reconsidered. Mostly because I have a 12th level spontaneous caster with Read Omens in my group. Coming up with 3 or 4 cryptic rhyming clues per day is hard enough, but when he started using his unspent 5th and 6th level slots before bed it made me want to pull my hair out. Just way too much work for me.

Now that's a corner case and all but there may be other issues like it.

I mean, that player could just make Read Omens a signature spell, and then you’d be in the same boat... :P


First World Bard wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
Claxon wrote:

My interpretation has been no, not technically allowed but as a GM I would allow it since it's typical "wasting" a spell slot to do and is really only something a sorcerer would do, unless a wizard wanted to commit to casting under leveled spells in advance.

It adds versatility, but not power.

I was in this camp, but have reconsidered. Mostly because I have a 12th level spontaneous caster with Read Omens in my group. Coming up with 3 or 4 cryptic rhyming clues per day is hard enough, but when he started using his unspent 5th and 6th level slots before bed it made me want to pull my hair out. Just way too much work for me.

Now that's a corner case and all but there may be other issues like it.

I mean, that player could just make Read Omens a signature spell, and then you’d be in the same boat... :P

Good point, but that's a much steeper cost then just using unused slots.

Liberty's Edge

Shrink Item could also be more/less abused in this manner to completely negate the need to manage your gear and loot everything in sight up to the number of excess level 3+ slots you have.


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I suppose a wizard with spell substitution could do this same thing regardless, too.


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Captain Morgan wrote:
I suppose a wizard with spell substitution could do this same thing regardless, too.

At 10 minutes per spell slot swapped, sure.


First World Bard wrote:
Quandary wrote:
While "an" could plausibly be compatible with restrictive function equally as with permissive function, "the" is more strongly congruent with restrictive function (including Heighten) while clearly excluding the permissive function.

They don't seem to be consistent with "an appropriate" vs "the appropriate". Stuidious Capacity (Bard Feat 16) says (emphasis mine): You can cast one spell each day even after you’ve run out of spell slots of the appropriate spell level, but you can’t use this ability to cast a spell of your highest spell level.

As an aside, this feat is certainly stronger under the restrictive reading than the permissive reading; under the permissive reading it just gives you an extra spell slot of your second highest level, which... is underwhelming for a 16th level class feat, I would think.

Hmmm... Interesting. I think I get what you're saying...

But honestly, I'm not convinced that's clearly below the power curve for 16th level Feat even if (by permissive reading of base Spont Casting) it's unique benefit would nearly be indistinguishable from simple "bonus slot of Max-1 Level" (which raises twice after 16th level). The real utility seems identical regardless of reading, whether or not ability to cast spell of given level "or lower" is uniquely distinct from simple bonus slot.

Other casters all have 20th level "+1 slot of MAX(10th) Level" Feats while Bard never gets anything better than this in this department. (to be clear, actual slots can be stronger than bonus castings, as some bonuses/abilities only apply when casting from slot) Most other casters can't get anything directly comparable to Studious Capacity at 16th/18th level, Wizard Reprepare significantly lower level (4th) with no-duration restriction. More common are ~repertoire increases, not bonus castings: Wizard Infinite Possibilities (exchange Prep Max for SuperSpont Max-2), Arcane/Occult Sorceror GrtMentalEvo (+1 repertoire/level). Divine/Primal Sorceror GrtVitalEvo (2/day cast after run out of appropriate spell slot ~~ Max and Max-1 Level) is fairly stronger and directly comparable to Bard Studious Capacity at same level. But those Sub-Classes already earlier get (fixed) bonus spellcastings (Divine/Primal Evo: Summon/Heal/Harm) similar to Cleric Font ability... So rather than worry about direct comparison, I think proper conclusion is this is appropriate to Classes more reliant on generic casting, compared to Bard unique Performance Composition mechanics.

Bard never gets anything better than Studious Capacity in this department, and yet they get to take it earlier than similar abilities open up for most others... I think that's reasonable power level both directly and in broader context: it's fully worthwhile for the Bard to take, and any apparent weakness VS one specific Sub-Class Feat seems within intended design distinction of these classes (generic casting reliance VS unique Composition mechanic). I think folly of direct comparisons without context is shown by 18th level Bard Feat Deep Lore ...which is identical to 16th level Sorceror Feat GrtMentalEvo (+1repertoire/level). I don't think it's implausible to take Studious Capacity at 18th level instead of Deep Lore, so I can't really say it seems below the power curve if permissive reading is true.


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Themetricsystem wrote:

Shrink Item could also be more/less abused in this manner to completely negate the need to manage your gear and loot everything in sight up to the number of excess level 3+ slots you have.

Probably fair to say by the time you have plenty of 4+ level spell slots to waste on Shrink Item, you will also have access to magical bags which can also manage excess Bulk concerns. Not that loot per level isn't already "managed" by meta guidelines.

First World Bard wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
I suppose a wizard with spell substitution could do this same thing regardless, too.
At 10 minutes per spell slot swapped, sure.

And of course they would be doing it better, with perfect spell from book with full Heighten benefit. Never trust a Sorceror to do the job right. Can't prepare worth a damn.

(...although... a Sorceror routinely keeping Shrink Item in Repertoire even without designating as Signature Spell... seems eccentric even for a Sorceror...)

---------------------------------------------------------------

TOTALLY off topic by now...

But I think the fact people can now complain about players getting crazy with too many Omens, or too many Misleading Recall Knowledge results, or even too many Shrink Items shows the success of 2E. Those potential excesses are all best handled socially outside of the game mechanics of course, but that the mechanics allow for these kind of extravagances just feels so much more entertaining and cinematic, rather than hedging out these elements in order to maintain proper balance of boring meat and potatoes mechanics, they can sneak in and flourish regardless.


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Quandary wrote:
The real utility seems identical regardless of reading, whether or not ability to cast spell of given level "or lower" is uniquely distinct from simple bonus slot

But if the two benefits were functionally identical, wouldn’t it have been a lot easier to just say: “You gain a spell slot of the second highest level you can cast?”


I thought I addressed this but maybe not directly enough...

You wrote "under the permissive reading it just gives you an extra spell slot" but that isn't technically true.
There is an actual distinction of a bonus slot VS a special bonus spellcasting: Some abilities (e.g. Dangerous Sorcery) only trigger from casting of spell from slot (usually excluding cantrips or focus spells, but also 'special bonus castings' in this case). Some abilities modify or exchange normal usage of spell slot for some unique effect but couldn't do so to 'special bonus casting'.
Which is reason why 20th level bonus 10th level slot Feats are potentially more powerful than just Spell Level indicates (vs 9th level spell that Studious Capacity scales to by then), and even the heavily restricted (Wizard) Reprepare Spell (10 minutes, <=4th level, no duration) can benefit from *actually being a slot*.

When I wrote "the real utility seems identical regardless of reading", that was comparing the utility of the Feat under one reading to the Feat under the other reading, NOT compared to "gaining a spell slot". I probably should have used all-caps NEARLY When I wrote the Feat function "would nearly be indistinguishable from simple "bonus slot of Max-1 Level"" under the permissive reading, because I didn't intend to imply it was FULLY indistinguishable, or truly identical... as the Feat lacks potential benefits of a real slot in both readings of base rules. The permissive or restrictive readings influence the real value *of a hypothetical bonus slot* or really, any normal spell slot (in terms of # of potential spells able to be cast i.e. including lower level spells or not). The real value of Studious Capacity (which always includes ability to cast spells lower than given spell level) doesn't change depending on reading of how spell slots work *because it isn't using slots*, but the Feat's unique value RELATIVE TO (hypothetically) "just getting a bonus slot" does change depending on the reading.

I think part of misunderstanding was (it now seems) you were just as much focused on the wording potentially being superfluous and more simply replaced with "gain a spell slot" (although this isn't functionally equivalent as explained above). When I wrote earlier post, I believed your concern was only that restrictive reading allowed a "unique" benefit for the Feat relative to "just getting a bonus slot". While under the permissive reading, ALL spellslots of a given level can always be used for a lower level spell, making that usage of the Feat relatively less unique VS normally alloted spellcasting slots... And I believed you were concerned the Feat therefore was not Level appropriate if it was ONLY similar to "just getting a bonus slot" and not granting a uniquely flexible benefit, despite it's real benefit being the same independent of how normal casting rules are read.

...So after I failed to clearly communicate that, I was solely addressing it's nominal value as a 16th level Bard Feat, which I ended up thinking was not problematic or notably "underwhelming" as you put it.

I hope that clears that up...?


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Ahh, okay, I think that creates a separate question, one of casting a spell that normally requires slots not from a slot. Perhaps Arcane Bond works the same way? Anyway, that topic can go to its own thread, if it needs to continue.

Here’s my latest example, which I found while planning a character. The Adaptive Adept human 5 ancestry feat. It lets a character learn a 1st level spell, but prohibits them from heightening it. So, if we let a spontaneous caster use higher level spell slots to cast it as a first level spell, I would think we’d also have to let prepared casters prepare it in higher level spell slots without heightening. Which I suppose doesn’t break anything in the permissive view, but it still seems weird.
The section on heightening says “a prepared spell caster can heighten a spell by preparing it in a higher level slot than its normal spell level.” I suppose it is silent on if all spells prepared in higher level slots are heightened.


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Themetricsystem wrote:

Shrink Item could also be more/less abused in this manner to completely negate the need to manage your gear and loot everything in sight up to the number of excess level 3+ slots you have.

You consider this an abuse? Really?

I get the impression players in your games must not have many opportunities to flex their creativity.

If you squash good, creative ideas like this too often, your players might as well just be playing another video game.


Ravingdork wrote:
Themetricsystem wrote:

Shrink Item could also be more/less abused in this manner to completely negate the need to manage your gear and loot everything in sight up to the number of excess level 3+ slots you have.

You consider this an abuse? Really?

I get the impression players in your games must not have many opportunities to flex their creativity.

If you squash good, creative ideas like this too often, your players might as well just be playing another video game.

What do you mean?? Spending dozens of spell slots just to carry home a bunch of normal battleaxes is some galaxy brain powergaming


Yeah I think that topic reads TOTALLY differently for Hoarders vs Non-Hoarders... ;-D

"You mean I can sacrifice all my spellcasting in order to collect and store EVEN MORE pieces of junk?... HALLELUJAH!!! SIGN ME UP NOW!!!!"

Sovereign Court

Quandary wrote:

If words matter, then choice of phrasing matters. If Paizo intended restrictive mechanic, avoiding ambiguity is reasonable expectation to convey restriction. Nobody has even claimed explicit affirmation is necessary to establish reasonable reading (although probably is good idea), but mere unambiguous grammatic congruence is low bar that hasn't been met.

While "an" could plausibly be compatible with restrictive function equally as with permissive function, "the" is more strongly congruent with restrictive function (including Heighten) while clearly excluding the permissive function. If words matter, the choice to not use clear indication of A and instead use ambiguous indication of either A or B seems more congruous with intention B. That's certainly not a massively strong indication, but in absense of any solider evidence towards either way, that's all we got, so I think the assumption would have to lean towards B (permissive) until otherwise clarified or errata'd.

Presuming that in lack of explicit rules text, the usage of "appropriate" somehow lost it's normal English meaning and can be assumed to mean "exactly of one specific type" (when there are more specific English words if one means "exactly of one specific type") in order to sustain particular reading of ambiguous grammar (that was used despite valid alternative unambiguously indicating other function) seems to devolve to not treating words and editorial choices as if they matter.

Definitely a good question for Paizo to resolve, sooner or later, to establish baseline mechanics.

I can't tell if you're intentionally trying to use as many long words as possible here.


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Quandary wrote:
If Paizo intended restrictive mechanic, avoiding ambiguity is reasonable expectation to convey restriction.

I disagree. The rules don't need to spell out restrictions. It can certainly be handy sometimes, but the point of the rules is to describe what we can do and we work from there, not to exhaustively describe what we can't do.

Given that, the fact that nothing in the game actually gives you the ability or in any way implies that you can cast spells in the wrong slot, that's sufficient enough to support the idea that it's not an actual game mechanic.

If it's supposed to be a mechanic, then it needs to be spelled out in the rules, not the other way around.


But you're just assuming it is "the wrong slot".
Despite it being perfectly compatible with chosen wording ("appropriate") and grammar ("an" not "the").
2 opportunities for precise exclusivity were not used, in favor of wording congruent with Permissive function.

Nobody has claimed that explicitly affirms the Permissive function, but that doesn't mean it's disallowed,
just as rules don't need to explicitly affirm that you can attack red-headed orcs with a sword,
because it is compatible or congruent with general rule "you can attack a creature with a weapon".
Creatures have explicit Fire immunity, despite no rule explicitly stating Fire can damage that specific creature,
because the rule that Fire can damage creatures in general is congruent with Fire damaging that specific creature.

There may or may not be a crucially important reason to disallow attacking red-headed orcs with a sword. But if we aren't supposed to be able to, that needs to be stated directly ...or the general rule about attacking creatures with weapons needs to be phrased to clearly not apply to attacking red-headed orcs with swords (which need not mention them directly, it's wording just needs to not be congruent with them).


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Quandary wrote:

But you're just assuming it is "the wrong slot".

Despite it being perfectly compatible with chosen wording ("appropriate") and grammar ("an" not "the").
2 opportunities for precise exclusivity were not used, in favor of wording congruent with Permissive function.

Counterpoint: What tells us that a lower level slot isn't an appropriate slot? That's certainly intuitively true, but do the rules explain that?


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As an aside, it would not surprise me if the Pathfinder Design Team wasn't all on the same page w.r.t the answer to this question, and that maybe it spawned a bit of a discussion.


People will justify anything post hoc.


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Artificial 20 wrote:
People will justify anything post hoc.

Usually people do this for things that will increase their power. Not things that will allow them to cast create water in a 10th level spell slot

Liberty's Edge

Ravingdork wrote:
Themetricsystem wrote:

Shrink Item could also be more/less abused in this manner to completely negate the need to manage your gear and loot everything in sight up to the number of excess level 3+ slots you have.

You consider this an abuse? Really?

I get the impression players in your games must not have many opportunities to flex their creativity.

If you squash good, creative ideas like this too often, your players might as well just be playing another video game.

Yes, I see it as abuse but you clearly have a different perspective given your history and posts on these forums. You have entire threads dedicated to munchkin nonsense that are patently intended to destroy the game balance so frankly, your opinion means nothing to me.

I'm not saying your perspective isn't valuable, simply that you're acting rather arrogant given how you make a hobby out of intentionally trying to break RPG systems with silly nonsense and stretched interpretations of the RAW in order to support an idea that helps YOU abuse it.

Just being honest dude and for the record, I don't think that "We loot literally everything that isn't welded to the floor" is very creative at all, it's gamist and immersion breaking.


Weirdly hostile reaction to someone thinking a couple extra castings of shrink item isn't a big deal.

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