How loud are verbal spells?


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Or more specifically, if you are hidden from some enemies and want to cast a spell before combat starts (Summon an invisible stalker for instance), how far away would you need to be to not be noticed?


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There aren't any hard rules on how far away sounds can be heard in this edition, so that's a question that only your GM can answer.

By a strict reading of the written rules, you've basically given up your location if you do anything but Hide, Sneak, or Step while you're undetected - likely to attempt to avoid the discussion between a player and GM about "they'd hear you from there" and "I don't think so, GM, that's not fair" having the book get dragged in to the mix and some bit of text an author wrote with no possible way of tailoring it to the actual circumstances in play when this discussion started up at the table being used as leverage.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Thenobledrake is correct. This whole question is a situational judgement call. Even with the same GM deciding every case, it will vary based on how much background noise there is, and similar factors.


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The verbal component rules say:

CRB 303 wrote:
A verbal component is a vocalization of words of power. You must speak them in a strong voice, so it's hard to conceal that you're Casting a Spell. . . .

So it'll come down to the GM how far away for the casting while hidden, like others have said. I've been imagining a "strong voice" as something someone would use when giving a Shakespearean monologue on stage, which is probably different than how others would imagine it.


Lady Macbeth, Act5 S1 wrote:
Out, damned spot! Out, I say!
{Create Water}
Lady Macbeth-continues, washing hands wrote:
—One, two. Why, then, ’tis time to do ’t. Hell is murky!—Fie, my lord, fie! A soldier, and afeard? What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power to account?—Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him.

8^)


IT DEPENDS ON THE CASTER!


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Gisher wrote:
IT DEPENDS ON THE CASTER!

So, are you Pavarotti the powerful or Corleone the hoarse?

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Ubertron_X wrote:
Gisher wrote:
IT DEPENDS ON THE CASTER!
So, are you Pavarotti the powerful or Corleone the hoarse?

He’s obviously BRIAN BLESSED!


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It is important to note that it's not just noise that gives your position away when casting spells.

CRB PG. 302 "Casting a Spell" wrote:

When

you Cast a Spell, your spellcasting creates obvious visual
manifestations of the gathering magic, although feats such
as Conceal Spell (page 210) and Melodious Spell (page 101)
can help hide such manifestations or otherwise prevent
observers from noticing that you are casting.

So on top of the Noise being generated by any verbal components, there tends to be a light show as well. Not even invisibility stops the visual manifestations of spell casting as far as I'm aware.


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Basically, you can't hide while casting.

So how far away do you need to be for someone not to notice you while you're talking and not trying to hard? That's how far you need to be away.

Which probably means, not in the same room. Probably not even in the hallway outside.

Maybe a couple rooms away with the door closed.


For whatever it's worth, the rule in the LARP I particate in is "autible from at least 20 feet away."


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

The distance could be a lot shorter if there's a waterfall, or something. And visible manifestations can be suppressed with a feat like Conceal Spell.


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Have I misunderstood initiative and combat? Wouldn't initiative be triggered as soon as you try and cast the spell. So you couldn't summon before combat?

Verbal spells I believe are supposed to be loud enough that you cannot possibly stealth with them


beowulf99 wrote:
So on top of the Noise being generated by any verbal components, there tends to be a light show as well. Not even invisibility stops the visual manifestations of spell casting as far as I'm aware.
Claxon wrote:

Which probably means, not in the same room. Probably not even in the hallway outside.

Maybe a couple rooms away with the door closed.

Soo... 2 rooms away?

Is there any rule about how far away combat starts if no one is trying to be stealthy?
Or any rule about initiative distance at all?


Lanathar wrote:

Have I misunderstood initiative and combat? Wouldn't initiative be triggered as soon as you try and cast the spell. So you couldn't summon before combat?

Verbal spells I believe are supposed to be loud enough that you cannot possibly stealth with them

Regardless of whether it's true, an enemy who isn't aware of you isn't going to do anything. If you can cast out of range of the enemy's ability to be aware of you, then you move in until they notice you.

Mellored wrote:
beowulf99 wrote:
So on top of the Noise being generated by any verbal components, there tends to be a light show as well. Not even invisibility stops the visual manifestations of spell casting as far as I'm aware.
Claxon wrote:

Which probably means, not in the same room. Probably not even in the hallway outside.

Maybe a couple rooms away with the door closed.

Soo... 2 rooms away?

Is there any rule about how far away combat starts if no one is trying to be stealthy?
Or any rule about initiative distance at all?

Not to my knowledge, and I hope there never is. As a GM I wouldn't want my hands to be constrained on this matter.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Mellored wrote:
beowulf99 wrote:
So on top of the Noise being generated by any verbal components, there tends to be a light show as well. Not even invisibility stops the visual manifestations of spell casting as far as I'm aware.
Claxon wrote:

Which probably means, not in the same room. Probably not even in the hallway outside.

Maybe a couple rooms away with the door closed.

Soo... 2 rooms away?

Is there any rule about how far away combat starts if no one is trying to be stealthy?
Or any rule about initiative distance at all?

There is absolutely not a rule about how far away combat starts. It's situation dependent, not distance based.


Ok... so whatever the GM's decides about verbal spells.

What about non-verbal spells. If you are unnoticed behind a box, can you cast invisibility without being noticed?
Or Clinging Ice, which is somatic only.

Claxon wrote:
If you can cast out of range of the enemy's ability to be aware of you, then you move in until they notice you.

Hmm... So setup some snares then...

I assume those can be set up quietly.


They are loud...
Verbal component is so called Power Speech. Language of the gods, and creation. Which mortals can't learn as a whole, but still can memorize and pronounce short phrases - aka verbal component of the spells.

It have to be pronounced very clearly (which as whole requires a training) and aloud. Not necessary shouting, but surely it can't be whispered either.


Mellored wrote:

What about non-verbal spells. If you are unnoticed behind a box, can you cast invisibility without being noticed?

Or Clinging Ice, which is somatic only.

That still runs into the same facts that verbal spells do; the rules on making yourself not observed include the language "...if you do anything except Hide, Sneak, or Step." and result in you being observed in all cases except if the only senses a creature can detect you with are imprecise and then you remain hidden, which still means the creature knows where you are.

Game-play balance has clearly been prioritized over other concerns such as "I think I could quietly cast without drawing attention to myself" (which the game says requires special ability to do, such as via conceal spell/silent spell).


Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber

Ultimately GM call based on the circumstances, but I think the rules are pretty clear that without conceal spell it can’t be concealed, and is spoken with a powerful voice and dramatic, overt gestures


thenobledrake wrote:
That still runs into the same facts that verbal spells do; the rules on making yourself not observed include the language "...if you do anything except Hide, Sneak, or Step." and result in you being observed in all cases except if the only senses a creature can detect you with are imprecise and then you remain hidden, which still means the creature knows where you are.

Ok, so can't remain unnoticed... though, I guess cast + sneak works.

Guess silent spell is the only way to stay undetected.

Thanks


Follow up.

Is summoning considered a hostile action (i.e. break invisibility?)


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Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber

Hostile Actions
Source Core Rulebook pg. 305 1.1
Sometimes spell effects prevent a target from using hostile actions, or the spell ends if a creature uses any hostile actions. A hostile action is one that can harm or damage another creature, whether directly or indirectly, but not one that a creature is unaware could cause harm. For instance, lobbing a fireball into a crowd would be a hostile action, but opening a door and accidentally freeing a horrible monster would not be. The GM is the final arbitrator of what constitutes a hostile action.


Liegence wrote:

Hostile Actions

Source Core Rulebook pg. 305 1.1
Sometimes spell effects prevent a target from using hostile actions, or the spell ends if a creature uses any hostile actions. A hostile action is one that can harm or damage another creature, whether directly or indirectly, but not one that a creature is unaware could cause harm. For instance, lobbing a fireball into a crowd would be a hostile action, but opening a door and accidentally freeing a horrible monster would not be. The GM is the final arbitrator of what constitutes a hostile action.

I guess that would apply to snares as well.

Ok, thanks.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Yeah, there's some judgement call involved, but I think it's pretty clear that summoning a monster and sending it to chew on someone's face is about as hostile as actions get.


HammerJack wrote:
Yeah, there's some judgement call involved, but I think it's pretty clear that summoning a monster and sending it to chew on someone's face is about as hostile as actions get.

True, but if you are planning on commanding the summoned creature to do something besides violence you could actually cast it while invisible and remain invisible.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Absolutely. Summoning for non hostile purposes is a different thing. Just don't expect to get away with something like "I summoned it to flip that switch on the far wall! I didn't change my mind about using it for combat until later!"

Especially not more than once.

EDIT: To clarify, I am not saying Thenobledrake is suggesting that sort of chicanery. Just throwing out a response in case someone is thinking it.


Mmm...

Hostile Actions wrote:
A hostile action is one that can harm or damage another creature, whether directly or indirectly, but not one that a creature is unaware could cause harm. . . .

I'd say it falls under can harm, and treat it as hostile. Other GMs might not, but I don't like to get into intent arguments when you have a rule that just asks whether a spell can or can't harm.


Unseen servant should be safe.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

That seems way too restrictive, given how many things that aren't necessarily for harming could conceivably harm.

I would definitely recommend sticking with the reading of intent that's inherent to the definition of hostile actions, and only cracking down to a most restrictive reading if it turns out that you have players that can't be honest about their character's intent.

It shouldn't be an issue that has to be debated, if the people play the game like reasonable humans instead of complete jerks.


Can a summon monster spell "indirectly harm" a creature? I think yes, because of the creature you summon being able to harm someone. Regardless of intent, that I think falls under the rulebook definition of a hostile action.

Whether you use that at your table is another thing, or if you go more towards the intent of the spell being cast. I don't like to play that way, but others might prefer it.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

What about 3 action Heal, when no undead are present? It can harm, if there's an invisible ghoul around, but not knowing about the ghoul, nothing is hostile about the intent in casting it.


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Sure, yep. Again, because I don't play the intent game.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I would strongly recommend to anyone else against using your method, since it breaks sharply from what a Hostile Action is, but I will assume that you've got an idea of what works better for you and your group.


Agree to disagree, I won't recommend either way.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
HammerJack wrote:
I would strongly recommend to anyone else against using your method, since it breaks sharply from what a Hostile Action is, but I will assume that you've got an idea of what works better for you and your group.

I'm not sure I'd run it the way Puna'chong does but I don't think being intent agnostic is that weirder than any other interpretation. Hostile Action (especially 'indirect harm') is defined very vaguely after all.

Your heal example is a bit out there, but I don't think many people would blink at the idea of Fireball breaking invisibility even if it doesn't hit anyone and that's basically the same concept.

And while it's consistent with the RAW, the spell scanning your mind to see why you're taking an action before deciding if it should break or not isn't exactly the most intuitive concept.


Squiggit wrote:
HammerJack wrote:
I would strongly recommend to anyone else against using your method, since it breaks sharply from what a Hostile Action is, but I will assume that you've got an idea of what works better for you and your group.

I'm not sure I'd run it the way Puna'chong does but I don't think being intent agnostic is that weirder than any other interpretation. Hostile Action (especially 'indirect harm') is defined very vaguely after all.

Your heal example is a bit out there, but I don't think many people would blink at the idea of Fireball breaking invisibility even if it doesn't hit anyone and that's basically the same concept.

And while it's consistent with the RAW, the spell scanning your mind to see why you're taking an action before deciding if it should break or not isn't exactly the most intuitive concept.

Summoning is not hostile until and unless your summoned creature attacks something. It's the GM's job to make judgements in the game and failure of a GM to actively do that in the case of Invisibility can lead to some really perverse and, IMO, clearly unintended outcomes. There are many rules in the game that need more attention from the GM than, "welp, that's what it says" and this ranks way up there in my book.


Squiggit wrote:
...I don't think being intent agnostic is that weirder than any other interpretation.

I see pros and cons of both ways.

For instance, the pro of caring about the intent of an action is that the player will never feel like the GM is being unfair by ending their invisibility while they're not doing anything hostile because an action they took is capable of being a hostile action if used in a different way, and the con is that there's no hard-and-fast list of actions that will (or will not) break invisibility.

And the pro of not caring about the intent of an action, just whether it's capable of leading to harm or not, is being able to make a list of actions that break invisibility - with the con being how long that list is, and how it feels as a player to not be able, for example, to interact with any furnishings or fixtures without losing your invisibility because the same action you use to grab a book off a shelf could be used to push the shelf over and crush a foe with it.

Squiggit wrote:
And while it's consistent with the RAW, the spell scanning your mind to see why you're taking an action before deciding if it should break or not isn't exactly the most intuitive concept.

Game play functionality trumps story in PF2 rules design, and that's it's own kind of intuitive (to me at least).


Would Ventriloquism help at all?

Obviously they would hear it, but not in the right location.

And can you throw the verbal part of the spell itself?


I think it could, yeah.

Ventriloquism itself has a verbal component, so if you're close enough for someone to hear you casting any other verbal spell they'd hear you casting ventriloquism. It does have a 60ft range, though, and lasts 10 minutes, so if you prepare it ahead of time you could misdirect where the verbal component of subsequent spells is coming from.

Depending on your GM, it could also confuse creatures to hear casting coming from one direction and then from another. Plus, you can freely change the location as you vocalize, which can make it much easier to misdirect enemies.

I don't think the spell would let you put your voice at the beginning of a dungeon and then 9 minutes later, 200 feet in, still be broadcasting your voice from the entrance, though.


As soon as the caster lets/commands a summoned creature to attack, their Invisibility breaks. Seems simple enough. I'd say it's a hostile action maintaining a summons knowing that the summons has run out of non-hostile actions to take and will only take hostile ones.

If somebody wanted to summon a Unicorn to heal (especially if allies are dying), that shouldn't be considered hostile simply because a PC put another creature on the board. Keeping it around to start stabbing people though, that's hostile.
(Issue would be messier if the caster didn't have to take further actions, but that's not the case here.)


HammerJack wrote:

Absolutely. Summoning for non hostile purposes is a different thing. Just don't expect to get away with something like "I summoned it to flip that switch on the far wall! I didn't change my mind about using it for combat until later!"

Especially not more than once.

EDIT: To clarify, I am not saying Thenobledrake is suggesting that sort of chicanery. Just throwing out a response in case someone is thinking it.

i'd say summoning in itself isn't a hostile action except if the command you give while summoning is to actually attack something. The moment the command to attack is given is the moment invisibility breaks imo.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Verbal
A verbal component is a vocalization of words of power. You must speak them in a strong voice, so it’s hard to conceal that you’re Casting a Spell. The spell gains
the concentrate trait. You must be able to speak to provide this component.
CRB pg. 303


So if I read clearly, the 4th level of invisibility doesn't prevent the manifestations for casting a spell ?

Let say a character is under 4th level invisibility spell and has previously cast ventriloquism to project voice up to 60 feet away. He is now unnoticed by the ennemy and then casts a spell with somatic and verbal components, using ventriloquism to project the voice somewhere else.

Creatures in the scene have only visual precise sense and no other senses except hearing that could reveal the character without using a well directed seek action.

In that situation:

- is the character undetected (because the sound of casting has been heared even if misleading but everything else remains invisibile) ?

- is the character merely hidden (because the spell manifestation upon casting it still originate from the right position making creatures aware of the exact square the character is in, while still being unable to observe the character) ?


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Zarkias wrote:

So if I read clearly, the 4th level of invisibility doesn't prevent the manifestations for casting a spell ?

Let say a character is under 4th level invisibility spell and has previously cast ventriloquism to project voice up to 60 feet away. He is now unnoticed by the ennemy and then casts a spell with somatic and verbal components, using ventriloquism to project the voice somewhere else.

Creatures in the scene have only visual precise sense and no other senses except hearing that could reveal the character without using a well directed seek action.

In that situation:

- is the character undetected (because the sound of casting has been heared even if misleading but everything else remains invisibile) ?

- is the character merely hidden (because the spell manifestation upon casting it still originate from the right position making creatures aware of the exact square the character is in, while still being unable to observe the character) ?

After all the strain re: manifestations in PF1, I'm surprised Paizo hadn't outlined them rigorously in PF2, if only to give suggestions for GMs on how to adjudicate to suit the table. (Or did I miss this?)

The Wizard feat Conceal Spell (2nd) says:
"This ability hides only the spell’s spellcasting actions and manifestations, not its effects,..."
So yes, there are manifestations, but to what extent?
Silent Spell (Wiz 4th) also mentions visual manifestations, each feat implying that these will give away your spellcasting which I'd have to presume gives away your square (if invisible).

There's a regular in the forums whose Sorcerer took MCD Wizard mainly to access those, they're so useful in cities (and more).

If observers know which square has a caster (because where else would a casting's manifestation manifest from?), that does move the caster to Hidden as knowing the square's the main difference between Hidden and Undetected.
Ventriloquism doesn't mention being useful for spellcasting, so it's not making any false promises, though in previous editions it was useful for that. At least until PF1's manifestations were clarified.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Claxon wrote:
Lanathar wrote:

Have I misunderstood initiative and combat? Wouldn't initiative be triggered as soon as you try and cast the spell. So you couldn't summon before combat?

Verbal spells I believe are supposed to be loud enough that you cannot possibly stealth with them

Regardless of whether it's true, an enemy who isn't aware of you isn't going to do anything. If you can cast out of range of the enemy's ability to be aware of you, then you move in until they notice you.

To expand on this, this is also a tremendous hassle and isn't worth doing. The CRB suggests that if people want to cast short lived buffs (1 minute type stuff) or other such things while they are still the next room over, give them them either one round to do so. Then have them roll initiative. Most fights don't last 10 rounds, so the rounds lost won't likely matter. (And if they do, spells don't last on a stop watch timer in narrative. It is fine if this one got a little extra juice.)


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Yeah. Casting spells from hiding is effectively impossible. Invisibility doesn't stop the spellcasting manifestations from being seen and verbal components must be spoken loud enough to be heard.

Conceal Spell hides the manifestations, but only disguises the verbal components. The enemies will still know that someone is there and saying something.

Silent Spell will remove the verbal components, but does nothing about the manifestations.

And finally, you can't use both of those metamagic abilities at the same time for the same spell.


Well Silent Spell, while it does say the spell still has visual manifestations, also says you can choose to gain the benefits of Conceal Spell, one of which is no visual manifestations.
But...
Odds are the effect of the spell will still reveal your space and since you've used metamagic and probably a 2-action spell, you have no actions afterward to change location.
Unless...
Hasted, in which cast now we're talking about having cast two spells, not a simple thing in PF2 w/ its shorter spell durations. And you're moving loudly, since Haste can give a Stride, though I don't know of any source for Quickened which gives you a Sneak.
So...
PF2 has effectively closed that tactic which admittedly shut down some fights too easily or simply made them boring. Since NPC spellcasters can burn all their slots on each encounter (generally since it's one), I'd see this trick more often used by them than not. This is similar to how shutting down enemies w/ Darkness is difficult now, especially since Light heightens automatically and can Counteract (which is also why a caster w/ a maxed casting stat & proficiency should be the one slotting it).


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Castilliano wrote:

Unless...

Hasted, in which cast now we're talking about having cast two spells, not a simple thing in PF2 w/ its shorter spell durations. And you're moving loudly, since Haste can give a Stride, though I don't know of any source for Quickened which gives you a Sneak.

Step ... maybe. Haste will let you Step. And Hide says that you can Step without becoming detected automatically.

But that is only 5 (or maybe 10) feet distance.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Silent spell makes casting spells from hiding not too difficult in PF2, you just have to be ready to make stealth checks and not cast spells with too many obvious effects. The conceal spell feat (which silent spell lets you get all the benefits from) makes it pretty clear that all the manifestations are concealed with the successful stealth check, so as long as the spell effects don’t shoot out from you, you can do quite a bit with it. Most of the spells have enough descriptive text to make it clear wether the spell effect begins at the caster or not, you just need to read the spell descriptions carefully, and most importantly, talk to your GM about what you are trying to do.

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