Encyclopaedia Arcanum: FedoraFerret's Guide to Spells


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Behold, volume 1 of my magnum opus. New volumes, each representing one level of spells (except vol. 9, which is levels 9 and 10) will be posted on Wednesdays and Sundays. MAGIC MARCH Y'ALL. I'll also collect them into a handy Table of Contents post once the full thing is done.


Nice.

Have you done any research into wizard bonded item spell chains? I get the feeling that you could get a whole load of work done with the right rotation.


Very nice ;) deserving of a bookmark!


I have a question: Why Heal is just 4 stars in healing when there are no equivalent spell in terms of healing?


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SuperBidi wrote:
I have a question: Why Heal is just 4 stars in healing when there are no equivalent spell in terms of healing?

That is an excellent question. Me-from-a-month-and-a-half-ago probably remembers, but he's generally dumber than I am so I won't trust him.


I am also curious about how your rating of acid splash handles the uncertainty around how that spell works. What does splash damage on a spell mean? It doesn't have the splash trait, so my GM is interpreting it as just a different kind of damage type, meaning that it only ever effects the original target, and is only useful when targeting swarms. This makes it a really terrible spell. However, another GM I know interprets splash damage meaning that on a hit, there is splash damage to all surrounding creatures as well. That can make the spell significantly better.


SuperBidi wrote:
I have a question: Why Heal is just 4 stars in healing when there are no equivalent spell in terms of healing?

Soothe is very close I think? I don't recall the exact math.


Dubious Scholar wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
I have a question: Why Heal is just 4 stars in healing when there are no equivalent spell in terms of healing?
Soothe is very close I think? I don't recall the exact math.

The basic two-action effect are sort of similar (1d8+8 vs 1d10+4), but heal also has single-action and AOE options.


krobrina wrote:
Dubious Scholar wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
I have a question: Why Heal is just 4 stars in healing when there are no equivalent spell in terms of healing?
Soothe is very close I think? I don't recall the exact math.
The basic two-action effect are sort of similar (1d8+8 vs 1d10+4), but heal also has single-action and AOE options.

And let us not even get into the self feeding cycle of a lay on hands paladin focused on medicine.

That is an out of battle option, of course... but we also have to consider the debate about in combat healing in the first place.


I don’t understand why shillelagh is rated so high. Why would a wizard have this prepared? And why would they have it over magic weapon?

It would need to be a very unusual situation.


krobrina wrote:

I don’t understand why shillelagh is rated so high. Why would a wizard have this prepared? And why would they have it over magic weapon?

It would need to be a very unusual situation.

A wizard would never prepare Shillelagh - it's not on the arcane spell list. Magic Weapon isn't on the primal spell list either, so no caster will ever have to choose between them.*

*Not accounting for multiclassing.


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Unicore wrote:
I am also curious about how your rating of acid splash handles the uncertainty around how that spell works. What does splash damage on a spell mean? It doesn't have the splash trait, so my GM is interpreting it as just a different kind of damage type, meaning that it only ever effects the original target, and is only useful when targeting swarms. This makes it a really terrible spell. However, another GM I know interprets splash damage meaning that on a hit, there is splash damage to all surrounding creatures as well. That can make the spell significantly better.

Is there uncertainty around this? I mean, it looks like there's a trait that handles splash weapons and there's not a damage type known as "splash." It seems pretty obvious to be that it would function just like thrown splash weapons.


Ruzza wrote:
Unicore wrote:
I am also curious about how your rating of acid splash handles the uncertainty around how that spell works. What does splash damage on a spell mean? It doesn't have the splash trait, so my GM is interpreting it as just a different kind of damage type, meaning that it only ever effects the original target, and is only useful when targeting swarms. This makes it a really terrible spell. However, another GM I know interprets splash damage meaning that on a hit, there is splash damage to all surrounding creatures as well. That can make the spell significantly better.
Is there uncertainty around this? I mean, it looks like there's a trait that handles splash weapons and there's not a damage type known as "splash." It seems pretty obvious to be that it would function just like thrown splash weapons.

I thought so, but it is also true that weapons are a very specific thing in PF2 and spells are not weapons, so assuming a weapon trait onto a spell is a pretty big stretch.


Re: Acid splash, the intention is clearly, to me, that "splash damage" is intended to be 1 point to the target and everyone around them. Maybe this is iffy on the RAW, but the RAI doesn't make sense otherwise, because otherwise it would be a legitimately and completely useless spell.

Re: Heal compared to soothe, heal is definitely better, but also they don't share a spell list, so they can't be compared. There are other options for healing on the divine list, but they really don't compare to heal, particularly the cleric's free divine font ones, which are so damn good that in the cleric guide I'm currently working on it's my only five star review thusfar.

Re: Shillelagh vs. magic weapon, as Henro pointed out they're not on the same list. Magic weapon is generally better, but if we're getting into the nitty gritty and discussing it by class, a druid is more likely to be willing to mix it up in melee than a wizard so it being self-only doesn't matter as much, and the extra d8 on your staff against not one but two very common enemy types (and a third, less common) basically saves you a ton of gold. It's a really good back pocket option for the wild shape druid when they get caught without focus.

Lemeres wrote:
That is an out of battle option, of course... but we also have to consider the debate about in combat healing in the first place.

I have only my own experience to go on. That experience is that without in-combat healing, I would've had multiple wipes in multiple games by now, and those players were going into those fights at full hp. PF2 is a deadly game now, and while I wouldn't go so far as to say that a dedicated healer is necessary it goes a long way, and someone should have at least some in-combat healing ready to go (preferably multiple people).


(Please direct me to a more proper place to discuss this)

Isn't there a difference between the splash trait and splash damage?

That is, isn't ruling "splash damage" doesn't splash because it lacks the splash trait just a mistake?

The splash trait does define how attacks work for splash weapons, but nothing says other weapons can't make splash damage too. After all, the splash trait makes sense only to thrown weapons (since that's all it discusses).

Maybe "splash spells" just weren't a thing when the splash trait glossary entry was written?

It isn't well defined, but if asked to choose between two less good alternatives:
a) splash damage without the splash trait is just a regular damage type despite never defined anywhere else
b) the splash trait should be rewritten to accommodate non-thrown weapons and then added to every attack that deals splash damage
...I'll choose option b every time!


The reason I can't convince my GM that anything from the splash trait applies to the spell is because the trait was clearly not written to accommodate anything but bombs. The language about not applying the STR modifier was a major strike against interpreting that the spell is supposed to have the trait. Also, he argued that the spell only does splash damage on a hit, so the splash trait couldn't really apply to the spell because the splash trait has specific effects on a failure and critical failure.

Also the original acid splash spell never did splash damage, so it is possible the name is more of a hold over than a sign of intention.

Again, I'd much prefer the spell to work as if it had the splash trait, but there are problems with that that really need Errata to fix, and I think it is probably best for guides and discussions of the spell to call out that the spell is a pile of garbage without the right fix.


Tell your GM that Acid Splash is a very weird hill to die on. People who use it with the (what I assume are correct) splash rules, still aren't picking it up over other cantrips.


Ruzza wrote:
Tell your GM that Acid Splash is a very weird hill to die on. People who use it with the (what I assume are correct) splash rules, still aren't picking it up over other cantrips.

That is the same reason I am not choosing to die on it. He is a good GM and a lot of fun to play with. I can also see his point about the wording and think the spell does require an Errata to function the way it feels like it was intended to work.


Ruzza wrote:
Unicore wrote:
I am also curious about how your rating of acid splash handles the uncertainty around how that spell works. What does splash damage on a spell mean? It doesn't have the splash trait, so my GM is interpreting it as just a different kind of damage type, meaning that it only ever effects the original target, and is only useful when targeting swarms. This makes it a really terrible spell. However, another GM I know interprets splash damage meaning that on a hit, there is splash damage to all surrounding creatures as well. That can make the spell significantly better.
Is there uncertainty around this? I mean, it looks like there's a trait that handles splash weapons and there's not a damage type known as "splash." It seems pretty obvious to be that it would function just like thrown splash weapons.

Also, there is a reference to splash damage in the bestiary, as it is a kind of damage that swarms are vulnerable to, so there is a function for doing 1 point of splash damage to a single target...even if, as FedoraFerret points out, triggering that splash damage will rarely be more damage than any other cantrip does when you factor in all other aspects of the spell.


FedoraFerret wrote:
Behold, volume 1 of my magnum opus. New volumes, each representing one level of spells (except vol. 9, which is levels 9 and 10) will be posted on Wednesdays and Sundays. MAGIC MARCH Y'ALL. I'll also collect them into a handy Table of Contents post once the full thing is done.

Thank you.

Question :-)

For Daze, you write

Quote:
...and two, how your GM handles nonlethal damage is vitally important to this spell. If they just want you to deal some for a knockout instead of a kill, then it’s great. If you have to deal the finishing blow with it, then it’s pretty meh.

However, the CRB rules seems to be pretty clear cut:

Page 459 wrote:

When most creatures reach 0 Hit Points, they die and are

removed from play unless the attack was nonlethal, in which
case they are instead knocked out for a significant amount
of time (usually 1 minute or more).

Are you sure that comment of yours isn't referring to possible confusion over this issue in a previous edition?

I'm having trouble seeing that significant numbers of PF2 gamesmasters (that aim for the RAW) run the game with your first interpretation.

Thanks


Zapp wrote:
However, the CRB rules seems to be pretty clear cut: Are you sure that comment of yours isn't referring to possible confusion over this issue in a previous edition? I'm having trouble seeing that significant numbers of PF2 gamesmasters (that aim for the RAW) run the game with your first interpretation.

The rule is clear but makes it hard to knock out creatures and in my experience is often house ruled.

You need to know when the target is low, then avoid damage spikes, then change to non-lethal weapons.

On a homebrew monster you have no idea how many hit points it has and might be forced to use non-lethal for most of the encounter. On a published monster, someone needs to be assigned to keep track of the damage. On an NPC, you're back in unknown HP land.

An alternative might be to use the PC rules, which has problems with randomness (specifically turn order).


As Krobrina said. I really hate the way RAW handles nonlethal, and most GMs I know do too, so I felt it was worth the note. RAW, a spell doing nonlethal is almost a footnote for how likely it is to knock out when you don't want to kill.


FedoraFerret wrote:
As Krobrina said. I really hate the way RAW handles nonlethal, and most GMs I know do too, so I felt it was worth the note.

Just came across as strange, that's all. Or, not strange exactly. More "this smells suspiciously like a PF1 holdover" :)

I mean out of the myriad of house rules this was the one you chose, and not only that, you presented it as a choice between two equally viable rule intrpretations.

It made me curious, so I looked it up, and indeed, the actual rule is clear as day.

Thanks


FedoraFerret wrote:
RAW, a spell doing nonlethal is almost a footnote for how likely it is to knock out when you don't want to kill.

Not sure what that means.

I don't think anyone expects a single application of Daze will knock out a foe. You need to deplete its hit points first just like normal, after all.

In fact, you can be pretty sure you don't need Daze right away. Killing a foe outright (from max hp) is a rare occurrence, and for an NPC important enough that you want him or her alive, rarer still.


Zapp wrote:
FedoraFerret wrote:
RAW, a spell doing nonlethal is almost a footnote for how likely it is to knock out when you don't want to kill.

Not sure what that means.

I don't think anyone expects a single application of Daze will knock out a foe. You need to deplete its hit points first just like normal, after all.

In fact, you can be pretty sure you don't need Daze right away. Killing a foe outright (from max hp) is a rare occurrence, and for an NPC important enough that you want him or her alive, rarer still.

My point is that the fact that it's nonlethal is pretty irrelevant otherwise. You use it because it targets Will, or because of the increased range, and the nonlethal is a niche thing that only applies when you accurately predict that the target is close enough to death that it will KO.


Can't wait for part 2! Wish I could suscribe to get alerted of new articles.


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Wait no longer, Chibi! Presenting volume 2. (you can also follow the blog, but I understand folks might not want a WordPress account).


FedoraFerret wrote:

Flaming Sphere (Arcane, Primal)

Blast (*****), Versatility (**)
Note: While there is, to my knowledge, no official post or FAQ, it’s the opinion of developers who’ve been asked that you can, in fact, Sustain a spell multiple times in a round for multiple uses of the effect unless it, like bless and bane, specify once per round.

Au contraire

Mark Seifter Designer wrote:
We have it coming in the next errata batch. Sustain a given spell once per round only, unless the spell specifically encourages you to do so more than once like spiritual weapon.

Pathfinder Second Edition / Rules Discussion


FedoraFerret wrote:
My point is that the fact that it's nonlethal is pretty irrelevant otherwise. You use it because it targets Will, or because of the increased range, and the nonlethal is a niche thing that only applies when you accurately predict that the target is close enough to death that it will KO.

Yes, the fact it is nonlethal doesn't matter at all against a monster at full health.

But I don't think "nonlethal" is considered an expensive trait by the designer - I don't think any spell or ability was made more expensive because it deals nonlethal damage.

Other than the general -2 penalty of course. But that is the price you're supposed to pay in exchange for the potential benefits of taking prisoners (gaining information; not angering NPC allies that dislike bloodshed, etc)


FedoraFerret wrote:
As Krobrina said. I really hate the way RAW handles nonlethal, and most GMs I know do too, so I felt it was worth the note. RAW, a spell doing nonlethal is almost a footnote for how likely it is to knock out when you don't want to kill.

I'm thinking about how your alternative interpretation would work...

Do you mean a creature is knocked out (instead of killed) as long as even 1 point of damage was non-lethal?

Yeah, that basically means there is no cost at all to nonlethal. In the context of Pathfinder 2, that's a clear houserule.


I think flaming sphere can be decent, even if you aren't abusing spam.

It is 3d6 damage in a decent AoE that you can get out every turn for a single action. This means that you caster can do other things while still keeping that up- doing another spell, doing a move+certain focus spells, etc.

Given the fact that it is a pre-fireball blast, it is fairly powerful for the spell slot.


Zapp wrote:
FedoraFerret wrote:
As Krobrina said. I really hate the way RAW handles nonlethal, and most GMs I know do too, so I felt it was worth the note. RAW, a spell doing nonlethal is almost a footnote for how likely it is to knock out when you don't want to kill.

I'm thinking about how your alternative interpretation would work...

Do you mean a creature is knocked out (instead of killed) as long as even 1 point of damage was non-lethal?

Yeah, that basically means there is no cost at all to nonlethal. In the context of Pathfinder 2, that's a clear houserule.

I think it's contextual. 1 point of nonlethal, not relevant. If they've used a reasonable amount of nonlethal damage, such as multiple dazes over multiple rounds or a few turns of persistent damage from phantom pain, then I'm fine with saying they're unconscious rather than dead even if the blow that knocks them down is lethal damage.

The key here is that there isn't actually a good answer. You're right that it is absolutely a house rule, it's just an extremely common one in my experience because the way that the core rules handle nonlethal damage is, to put it frankly, bad. The rule as written makes knockouts incredibly difficult, requiring you to guess when the target is low enough to go down in one more blow and then hobble yourself by casting a lower damage spell like daze, use a lower damage weapon with nonlethal, or take a -2 penalty to your attack. Meanwhile those forms of attack are actually useless early in the fight compared to just attacking for lethal to whittle them down, which becomes a weird metagamey thing. If you were in a real duel and wanted to take someone alive, you would be using nonlethal "damage" from the beginning.

You say "there is no cost at all to nonlethal" but I question why you think it needs a cost to begin with. What's wrong with letting PCs take prisoners if they want to?

Re: Flaming Sphere, what's funny is that my memory might be deceiving me but I could've sworn it was a comment from Mark specifically that said the other way. That was an informal thing and I don't recall when it was from, though, so it may pre-date that post anyway. Either way, I've updated the review to accurately reflect things. Thank you for the correction, b8620271.


FedoraFerret wrote:
Wait no longer, Chibi! Presenting volume 2. (you can also follow the blog, but I understand folks might not want a WordPress account).

I should have a wordpress.com since I've had the misfortune of working with that as a web developer. As long as I don't have to create a new one just for your site then cool!


FedoraFerret wrote:
You say "there is no cost at all to nonlethal" but I question why you think it needs a cost to begin with. What's wrong with letting PCs take prisoners if they want to?

Today, non-lethal weapons aren't very effective compared to lethal ones. This doesn't have to be true in the game, but I think people come into the game with certain pre-conceptions.


FedoraFerret wrote:
The key here is that there isn't actually a good answer.
Quote:
You're right that it is absolutely a house rule
Quote:
You say "there is no cost at all to nonlethal" but I question why you think it needs a cost to begin with. What's wrong with letting PCs take prisoners if they want to?

Absolutely a valid question - I don't disagree. Thank you.

All that's left for me to do is ask if you couldn't maybe tweak your language on Daze to make it less confusing for new PF2 GMs? :)

That is, if you instead said something to the effect of "if you run nonlethal like I do, Daze gets a higher grade than by the RAW".

Good luck with your project!


So there's no answer on the flaming sphere multiple sustains? I remember a thread about this long ago.


ChibiNyan wrote:
So there's no answer on the flaming sphere multiple sustains? I remember a thread about this long ago.

The answer is that while RAW currently allows it, the RAI is for it to not be allowed.


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Zapp wrote:
FedoraFerret wrote:
The key here is that there isn't actually a good answer.
Quote:
You're right that it is absolutely a house rule
Quote:
You say "there is no cost at all to nonlethal" but I question why you think it needs a cost to begin with. What's wrong with letting PCs take prisoners if they want to?

Absolutely a valid question - I don't disagree. Thank you.

All that's left for me to do is ask if you couldn't maybe tweak your language on Daze to make it less confusing for new PF2 GMs? :)

That is, if you instead said something to the effect of "if you run nonlethal like I do, Daze gets a higher grade than by the RAW".

Good luck with your project!

That's a very reasonable suggestion. It is done. Thanks for your input,


Produce flame has the little advantage of beeing a possible melee or ranged attack

Telekinetic Projectile is also nice for non-primary casters because it makes a ranged attack roll and not a ranged spell attack roll

but nice guide so far


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Pretty sure Telekinetic Projectile was errata'd to say spell attack roll.
Have to look it up but I remember reading that somewhere.


Belltowerben wrote:

Pretty sure Telekinetic Projectile was errata'd to say spell attack roll.

Have to look it up but I remember reading that somewhere.

It was.

The Exchange

The problem I have with the guides from Fedora are the large number of embedded advertisements. I understand the desire to make money off the eyeball traffic but it is nigh impossible to read them without becoming annoyed.


Castilliano wrote:
Belltowerben wrote:

Pretty sure Telekinetic Projectile was errata'd to say spell attack roll.

Have to look it up but I remember reading that somewhere.
It was.

dangit

had the errata not in my head


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Laran wrote:
The problem I have with the guides from Fedora are the large number of embedded advertisements. I understand the desire to make money off the eyeball traffic but it is nigh impossible to read them without becoming annoyed.

I do not see any adverts in this, but I am using an ad blocker.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Pretty sure that's a Wordpress thing, since they're all tagged, rather than a Ferret thing.


Laran wrote:
The problem I have with the guides from Fedora are the large number of embedded advertisements. I understand the desire to make money off the eyeball traffic but it is nigh impossible to read them without becoming annoyed.

Why are you on the internet without an adblocker?

Install Ublock Origin and never be annoyed ever again.


Unfortunately I don't get a say in the ads being there, and removing them would actually cost me money. Trust me if I had anything but the free plan y'all would never have to see another ad.


Zapp wrote:
Laran wrote:
The problem I have with the guides from Fedora are the large number of embedded advertisements. I understand the desire to make money off the eyeball traffic but it is nigh impossible to read them without becoming annoyed.

Why are you on the internet without an adblocker?

Install Ublock Origin and never be annoyed ever again.

Possibly because an increasing number of sites have hissy fits and throw up an in site warning complaining about how you have ad block on.

While you can say 'don't go to those sites', he still had to follow someone else's link to get to the guide. You never know which sites nag you until you go to them.


lemeres wrote:

Possibly because an increasing number of sites have hissy fits and throw up an in site warning complaining about how you have ad block on.

While you can say 'don't go to those sites', he still had to follow someone else's link to get to the guide. You never know which sites nag you until you go to them.

I can say with absolute certainty that the risk of encountering malicious adverts outweighs the occasional "hissy fit".

Not to mention how calm and serene the whole of Internet becomes once you've installed uBlock Origin.


We use pi-hole and block any sites that are overly annoying (as well as the majority of advertising domains). Those sites that have full-screen popups and all that nonsense.

There's a particular blogging site that begins with m and means something between small and large, and is popular with software engineers, that just got itself null routed last week.

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