Targets for Unraveling Infusion

Rules Questions


I'm having some difficulty making sense of Unraveling Infusion and I cant seem to find the answer. I did find this topic but the answers are inconclusive. Mainly I want to know if you can use it to dispel magical effects that cover an area, like magical darkness or magical fog (as created by spells like Darkness or Fog Cloud). The question of course comes from our last session, where my character used Unraveling Infusion to dispel a magical fog that would have made the encounter much harder, but without the fog it was relatively easy.

I did quite a bit of research about it (sorry about the long post). First, if we take a look at the text of the infusion itself:

1.) "Your kinetic blast burns so hot that it melts away your foe’s magical effects." - this looks like its just a flavorful description of the effect, however it does state "foe's magical effects", which surely includes any effect that your foe produces via magic.

2.) "Whenever your infused blast hits a foe and penetrates its spell resistance, you can attempt a caster level check as if using a targeted dispel magic before determining whether the foe takes damage from the blast."

- It now says that it "hits a foe".... The topic I linked above has 1 answer that says that it can only target a creature, and therefore you cant use it to target objects, a square on the ground, magical effects, etc etc. However, the OP of that topic replies that a strict "word per word" ruling would mean that you cant use it on your allies (which seems too harsh, seeing how allies would also take the blasts damage, or at least half of it, if you used it on them - which seems punishing enough), and that the "foe's magical effects" from the first sentence means that it includes AoE spells cast by foes. And I personally agree with those points, however I'm not sure if Mark/Paizo intended it to work this way.

- I havent even asked the DM about SR, though it doesnt really matter: firstly, we werent in combat so I could have rolled a hundred times if needed, it'd just take longer. Secondly, it was a fog, I'm pretty sure it didnt have any SR. Doors, walls, and other objects usually dont have SR, and I dont think magical effects have SR either (for example, does magical darkness have a SR rating? Never heard of anything like that. It doesnt need to have a SR rating because you cant "attack" or otherwise affect "darkness" - you cant cast a Fireball at it, or damage it with said Fireball. The only thing you can do is dispell it, and that doesnt go against SR, it goes against CL). So, does this mean that Unraveling cant target Darkness because Darkness doesnt have SR? No, I dont think so, because most creatures dont have SR and yet you can obviously target them.

- Caster level check was done according to the rules (and I even rolled high enough on the first try).

- It says it works as if using a Targeted Dispel Magic. The spell says that it can be used as a Targeted version or as a Counterspell. However, only the last paragraph covers the Counterspell use, everything else is about the Targeted version, which lists all possible uses, including AoE spells:

a.) it says: "You can also use a targeted dispel to specifically end one spell affecting the target or one spell affecting an area (such as a wall of fire)." - and that's exactly what I've done. I've even looked up how dispelling AoE effects works, specifically if you can target any point/square of the effect, or do you need to target the central square/point of origin. And the asnwer is that you can target any square/point/edge of the AoE, because for example if the enemy casts Darkness, you cant even see the point of origin, and thus dispelling it would be almost impossible (unless you had some way of seeing through magical darkness).

b.) it also says: "You must name the specific spell effect to be targeted in this way." - this could be understood to mean that you have to correctly identify the effect (via Spellcraft) if you want to dispel it, but I looked it up and this is not true. You only need to make a Spellcraft check when you want to Counterspell, not when you want to Dispel. So this sentence just means that you have to proclaim in advance which spell you want to dispel (as opposed to the first use of the spell, which says you first try to dispel the strongest effect, and if you fail, you can try with the next one, and so on - which is reinforced by the continuation of the text that says: "No other spells or effects on the target are dispelled if your check is not high enough to end the targeted effect". So, its a case of "I want to dispel this darkness and nothing else", and not a case of "Well, I dont know what kind of magic produced this darkness, so I cant try to get rid of it").

So, it seems like we played by the rules. The only unclear part is the part about targets under my 2nd point. The text does say that it works "whenever your infused blast hits a foe", but (as usual, sadly) this is a far too vague/broad description: this is an infusion, which you add to your blast. Its not an "attack" on its own, or anything like that, the description is clear that you ADD it to a blast. And its also pretty clear that your blast can be aimed at anything. It can be aimed at creatures (friendly or not), it can be aimed at objects (evil or not), can be aimed at empty squares (floors or ceilings and everything inbetween). Basically they can be aimed at anything that you could aim at with any other weapon (ranged or melee or spell).
But, can a blast be aimed at a magical effect like Darkness? Well, I dont think so - can you aim at Darkness with a bow? Or with a sword? Or with a Fireball? The answer in my opinion is NO, you cant try to hit Darkness with a sword (or bow or Fireball). I mean you can, but it'll go straight through (and possibly hit something else that is hiding in the dark), because there isnt any interaction that exists between swords/bows/Fireballs and areas of Darkness. Or, to be more specific, areas of Fog. Can you cut a Fog? Or Fireball it? No, you cant.

But! You can affect it with certain specific spells, the most obvious one being Dispel Magic. In the case of Fog, other spells can affect it too, like Gust of Wind. Spells like these DO have very obvious, intended and rule-enforced interactions with Fog, Darkness, etc.

So, the issue comes from the fact that we have a Blast, which acts as a regular attack and DOESNT interact with Darkness, but when we add the Unraveling Infusion, it now suddenly wants to simultaneously act like an "attack"/effect that DOES interact with Darkness. Should it be allowed to do so? I'm leaning more towards yes. Why? Because if a Magus can imbue their sword (with the help of Spellstrike Gloves) to deliver ranged spells when it hits stuff (Sword also being an attack that cant normally target Darkness), and if I'm not mistaken Alchemists and Wizard, possibly others, can achieve a similar effect, then why couldnt a Kineticist imbue their blast to do the same?

But still, it all seems to come down to the "hits a foe" line. Yeah, a blast would normally (and most often) hit a foe. Does that mean it cant hit anything else? No. Does that mean it can normally hit Darkness? No. Does that mean that it cant hit Darkness even when imbued with an infusion whose purpose is clearly to copy (some part of) Dispel Magic in an effort to do some dispelling? No, I dont think so. Especially if we also take into account the first line that says "foe's magical effects".

But then again, this (obviously) makes it pretty damn powerful, even (or especially) outside of combat, where you can take your time and keep rolling until you roll high enough. Technically, you could spend however long you wanted on a certain effect, you could also walk around the place and blast the walls, the hallways, the any other magical things you see.... as long as the caster's CL isnt at least 11 points higher than yours (or 13 points if you halve your damage), you WILL eventually dispel their magic....


Hmm, its been a day, and no thoughts so far? :(
Sorry if it was too long, here's TLDR: Can Unraveling Infusion target magical effects like Darkness? Normally a Blast doesnt interact with effects like these at all, but the Infusion copies Dispel Magic which does interact with them.


I've given it more thought and realized that in most cases the target objects would most likely be destroyed far sooner than you'd manage to dispel them.... For example, a door with an Alarm (or any other) spell on it... you blast the door, but fail the check to dispel Alarm. If its a regular door, it wont survive even one blast, but if it does, you simply blast it again and again - chances are they are going to be destroyed before you dispel the Alarm. Then what? You cant try again because now there isnt a door anymore to target it?

Also, the Infusion lets you "reduce the blast’s damage by half to increase your bonus on the caster level check by 2". How would this work against a Wall of Fire or against Darkness? Those arent things that can be damaged by your blast, so how do you halve your damage against them? Does this mean that you cant use this option to get a +2 (cause there's nothing to decrease), or does it mean that you cant use the Infusion on such effects at all?

I think the hits a foe part is more like flavor text. Or rather in this case, your “foe” is the target of dispel magic. It’s not like foe is ever defined as a creature.

Thanks for the reply.

Yeah I also thought it was flavor text, and I'm not sure if "foe" is defined anywhere else but it is not here. Sure, when you hear "foe" most often you think of a creature, but the rest of the text makes it seem like the target could be other things too.

However, that makes it a pretty powerful ability. It made people at my table upset when I used it, cause I could theoretically do this all day long for free (at least from lvl11 onward). Is it really as OP as it seems or is it just my group that thinks so?

It's good, but the amount of 3rd level+ spell slots that a full spellcaster can have by that level generally exceeds the number of dispel magics that they actually want. And for utility you often don't want to be throwing fire at your target at all, it's a downside if you don't want to harm the target.

You need to have the effect within kinetic range and targetable, which means if you can't see the effect you're out of luck. I think darkness would be very hard to target. Alarm is 'Area 20-ft.-radius emanation centered on a point in space' not cast on a door. You'd need to be able to perceive the alarm somehow to target it. Blowing out walls of fire and blasting away magical fog banks sounds doable though.

Thanks for your reply.

I agree that a wizard is better off in terms of availability because a wizard could use Dispel Magic as early as lvl5, while a kineticist has to wait until at least lvl10 (theoretically, but actually until lvl11). A wizard can cast lvl6 spells by then.
However, a wizard will still have a limited number of spell slots available per day. And this seems to be what's upsetting people in my group the most. I've heard more than once that blasts are amazing (basically overpowered) because there's no limit to how many times you can use them. It's even worse if I add infusions (like Eruption), and worse again when I use Utility talents or Empowered Metakinesis.
I always try to keep my blast cost at 0, so I dont take any additional burn during the day (except in dire situations). So pretty much anything I do, I could be doing it "all day long". Which is true, but thats not nearly as powerful as people think. I've read that it has been calculated that an average character will spend around 10 or 12 rounds in combat on average. So, on average, having more than ~ 12 spell slots is effectively the same as having infinite spell slots.

And that's all well and true for combat uses, but (as I'm now realizing), its a different story when it comes to out of combat uses. If a wizard needs to Dispel something (out of combat), he still spends a spell slot for each attempt. Sure he may not need to use all of his slots on Dispel, but even if he uses 3 slots, that's theoretically around 25% of his expected average daily usage. He may not need that many slots, but the chance of him running out of slots still exists, while it doesnt for a kineticist. Sure, you need to be within 30 ft, and not use any other Infusions or effects, but that hardly matters when out of combat. My group feels that the "all day long" thing is pretty much overpowered. I would normally disagree, but on this matter I'm not sure. I agree that its quite powerful, but I'm not sure how it compares to other classes/similar abilities. If it turns out that it is indeed overpowered, I'm willing to agree to limit its targets/options/whatever, even if that's not by RAW, but I havent been able to find a conclusive answer. Your replies help a lot though, thanks again. I dont see why they couldnt have made the text clearer. If they wanted to limit the targets, then instead of:
"Whenever your infused blast hits a foe and penetrates its spell resistance..."
they could have just as easily wrote:
"Your infused blast can only target creatures. If it penetrates their spell resistance..."
or "enemies", or whatever.

As for Alarm, I'm sorry I havent looked up its exact effects. In fact it could have been a different effect - we just encountered a door and it showed up as magical with Detect Magic. The surroundings (door frame and possibly even further) were also "covered" in magic. I'm not sure if we determined that it was an Alarm spell, or if we just assumed it was. Either way, I blasted the door frame and dispelled it (on my 2nd try), which caused a minor upset. The room was filled with magical fog and when I did the same to the fog, that caused a bigger upset.
Anyway, we perceived the "Alarm" spell via Detect Magic. And the Fog was also found out to be magical in nature with the same method. Not by my character personally, but another member of the party, who then told my character to try and dispel the door. As far as I know that's allowed - the character doing the dispelling doesnt need to see the magic (or identify it via Spellcraft) to be able to dispel it.... or am I mistaken? My chacacter was able to see the door and the fog clearly, another member just detected them as magical, and asked my character to try dispelling them.

Baza wrote:
I dont see why they couldnt have made the text clearer.

The answer for that one is well known. Word count was cut down everywhere so they could fit as many powers as possible into the book.

And I think you could only spam this for dispels, if you weren't worried about those things taking half blast damage. At level 10, that's half of 5d6+Con+EO, and it will only increase as you level. That's enough to overcome the hardness of most objects.

I know, but even if we disregard the fact that sacrificing clarity for brevity is a terrible idea, what I was trying to do is show that my suggested clearer wording would be only a couple of letters longer. Given more thought (and rephrasing other parts of the power, possibly other powers) it could be even shorter, so I disagree with their logic, but thats a different topic.

Yes they will take damage, although I did forget to mention that in our case, after I had dispelled the door (and we talked about it), it was decided that it was in fact a magical item and so the effect wasnt dispelled, merely suppressed. But anyway. Most of the time destroying the object is as good as dispelling it, right? If a spell was cast on the door, and you destroy the door, what happens to the spell? Does it linger in the air? Can you still try to dispel it even if the object was destroyed? And most importantly, you cant damage, for example, an area of Darkness - does that mean you cant target it at all, or just that you ignore the damage part (and possibly cant increase your check)?

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