An idea for making the Bless spell just a bit more attractive

Homebrew and House Rules

Sovereign Court

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Right now Bless is not very popular. Much less popular than Inspire Courage. There's a couple of reasons for that:

- Inspire Courage has a lot more range
- Doesn't cost a spell slot
- Takes only one action, so it doesn't lock you out of casting another spell that round
- Gives a damage boost

On the other hand, Inspire Courage needs to be renewed every round. You could use Lingering Composition but I've seen that fail very often, especially in mixed-level parties in PFS. It's more like a gamble whether you free up some actions than something you can really rely on.

Bless has two main possible casters: cloistered clerics and war priests.

For war priests, it sort of works, you cast it and then wade into melee. You might spend an action or two growing it instead of making a long-shot MAP attack. But it's a bit tricky to time; you can't cast Bless, move, and Strike in the same turn. Painful tradeoff. Especially for something you actually have to pay a spell slot for.

For cloistered clerics, the range is a real problem. PF2 combat is designed to be mobile, enemies don't stay nicely in one position. If you want to cover people with the aura you have to spend actions staying close, actions increasing the aura... and then you don't have enough actions left to cast normal two-action spells.

I think the spell could be drastically improved with two changes:
- Change the base casting time to 1 action.
- Allow casting it as a two-action spell to anchor the emanation to another character in close range.

This opens up some more uses for it:
- War Priests can cast it on themselves (1 action), move in, and Strike.
- Cloistered clerics can cast it on someone who's gonna stay close to the melee, like the barbarian or champion. Then the next round they can grow the emanation, and cast a spell. Because the work of moving around is already done by the other PC.

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I could get behind making it a variable action spell. You could even have a 3 action version that centers the area on the caster, but starts at a reasonable range like 20 or 25 feet rather than 5.

Alternative take, as I've thought about this a few times myself:

Dump the area altogether. Instead base the buff on other similar buffs like Haste.

So 2 action cast, 1 minute duration as normal.

At first level targets 2 creatures. Then Heighten effect of:

+2: Target 1 additional creature.

So at third level when you gain access to Heroism, Bless is still a viable option, since it will allow you to cover 3 members of the party. At 5th you can cover the whole party (assuming 4 players) and each 2 levels beyond that you get another target for things like Animal Companions and the like.

Heroism maintains viability because it grants a greater bonus at higher levels and to more things. Bless is still attractive because it gives the party a fire and forget +1 status bonus to attack rolls to the majority/all of the party.

For Bane do the same obviously.

I've never really understood why Bless was based on your proximity to the caster anyway. When someone confers a "blessing" on someone, that blessing is assumed to follow that person, it doesn't only count while they are close by.

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The current bless should be a 1 action verbal cast. The designers pushed the variable casting a lot in the lead up to 2e but I'm still quite disappointed in how its being used so far. Bless could have easily been a variable distance spell.

1 action - 5 ft emanation
2 action - 15 ft emanation
3 action - 30 ft emanation

Spend an action in future turns to increase the size of the emanation 1 step.

Really interesting topic.

- lvl 1 spell
- 2 actions to cast it
- laughable range ( 5 feet)
- no bonus damage
- no bonus saves vs fear


- 60 foot emanation
- +1 hit, dmg and saves vs fear
- verbal component ( no AoO).

It's only downside is that you have to cast it every round, and that it doesn't stack with other compositions.

To modify bless into some 1 action feat ( maybe with a standard range like all other auras, which is 15 feet) would probably make the spell more interesting.

Consider also that 1/4 of the time ( from lvl 16 to 20 ) it will be always active if you take the feat.

I really like Beowulf99's idea.

Considering a standard party of 4 ( 1 combatant, 1 skill monkey, 1 blaster and 1 healer) it would work perfectly.

The progression he proposed is also well balanced.

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I like a lot of the ideas in this thread but I do have to agree that bless really, really doesn't need to be an aura.

It adds so much extra effort for so little benefit, and actually goes against the prior edition's implementation just for the sake of shoehorning some extra actions into it.

I would prioritize a house rule that makes it a regular buff over monkeying around with aura radii.

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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

We don't do any of that stuff. In our games, bless works just like it did in PF1. It's a 2 action cast. Targets in a 50 foot burst. Give them their +1 and move on with the game.

Sovereign Court

Ascalaphus wrote:

In my House rules doc, it only takes 1 action to cast (now standard for most spells), it begins with a 15' r, and can grow from there. It also gains the Flourish trait because it received the -1 action from RAW modifier.

Sovereign Court

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Samurai wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
In my House rules doc, it only takes 1 action to cast (now standard for most spells), it begins with a 15' r, and can grow from there. It also gains the Flourish trait because it received the -1 action from RAW modifier.

The use of the flourish trait for that is a nice... flourish :P

But yeah, it's actually an interesting game design to counter nova-style play where someone might drop three one-action buffs in the first round.

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What if your proposals above were simply heightened effects?


Spell 1
Enchantment, Mental

Traditions: divine, occult
Cast: Two Actions somatic, verbal
Area: 5-foot emanation
Duration: 1 minute

Blessings from beyond help your companions strike true. You and your allies gain a +1 status bonus to attack rolls while within the emanation. Once per turn, starting the turn after you cast bless, you can use a single action, which has the concentrate trait, to increase the emanation's radius by 5 feet. Bless can counteract bane.

Heightened (Xth): This spell has a range of 30-feet and the emanation has a target of "one ally"
Heightened (Yth): As the 1st level version, but may be cast as a single action with only verbal components

So what would be X and Y?

This is a also a bit of a symptom of PF2e not naming things well.
These spells they call Bless and Bane are not that at all.
Should have been called Aura f Blessing and Aura of Bane.

Regardless, if you want to stick with Bless and Bane, then I think beowulf99's idea is the best one so far.

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