Metamagic Confusion


Rules Questions


I'm hoping to get some input from the board...

I've got some questions regarding metamagics. I've used my follower's & downtime to create some scrolls & I'm looking at the combat to use them & I'm realizing I may have misapplied some metamagics & will need to fix some scrolls.

A lot of the metamagics share some language I'm not sure I understand & would like to & in particular I'd like to understand Blissful spell (as one of my followers just got the feat.)

Blissful Spell:
Benefit(s): Blissfull Spell (Metamagic) You can alter any spell that targets a single creature to become a blissful spell, although the exact effects of the metamagic vary depending on whether the spell is beneficial or offensive. A creature successfully hit by an offensive blissful spell (if the spell requires an attack roll) or that fails its saving throw against an offensive blissful spell takes a –2 penalty on attack rolls and weapon damage rolls for 1 round. A beneficial blissful spell instead grants affected creatures a +2 morale bonus on skill checks and saving throws for 1 round in addition to its normal effects.

A blissful spell gains the good descriptor, and the additional effect is a mind-affecting compulsion effect.

A blissful spell uses a spell slot 1 level higher than the spell’s normal spell level. Spells with the evil descriptor can’t be blissful

1) One target
Several metamagics have this language: "You can alter any spell that targets a single creature." I assume that it doesn't mean that the spell block has to have Target: 1 creature - & that spells like Acid Arrow are fine.
Is Magic Missile valid as long as all the missile's are sent at a single target? Or does the spell have to be incapable of targeting more than once creature? In which case Produce Flame cast at level 1 should be eligible, but not cast at level 2+ (as it could then target more than one creature - or - can Produce Flame be cast with a 1 target metamagic & if the caster attempts to target a second creature the spell has no effect?

2) Damage for special effect?
Some metamagics indicate they take effect when the target takes damage (which is clear). For those that say they kick in when the spell hits or the creature fails it save, if the target's DR or Energy Resistance reduce the damage of the spell to zero, does the target still take the metamagic's effect? The general

DR rules are:
"Whenever damage reduction completely negates the damage from an attack, it also negates most special effects that accompany the attack, such as injury poison, a monk's stunning, and injury-based disease. Damage reduction does not negate touch attacks, energy damage dealt along with an attack, or energy drains. Nor does it affect poisons or diseases delivered by inhalation, ingestion, or contact."]DR rules are
, so is the metamagic rider treated like poison or like energy damage?

3) Spell that affects the user
When a spell that effects the user, like Biting words is affected by metamagic Blissful spell - is it: a) not eligible, b) considered a beneficial spell for the caster, or c) considered a harmful spell to each creature that is hit by the spell and takes damage?

4) multiple hits
If it can hit or damage multiple time, eg. Biting Words, and it is cast with a metamagic like Concussive Spell does the metamagic: a) only affect the first creature targeted, b) any creature targeted, but each creature only once, or c) each creature each time it takes damage from the spell?


1) I think you're wrong there - it means a targeted spell not one which creates an effect like acid arrow.

2) Unclear. I'd treat energy resistance the same as damage resistance and consider metamagic riders to be classed under 'most special effects' meaning they'd be blocked, but YMMV.

3) In this case the spell is presented as an effect on the caster first (Target you), I'd treat it as a beneficial spell on them.

4) Each time, but I'd reset the duration if hit a second time by the spell rather than having the concussive effect stack.


1) I agree with AVR, acid arrow or magic missile are not valid options for Blissful spell.
2) I've always treated it like rider effects, and if the effect doesn't deal damage it doesn't deal the effect.
3) I'd probably say not eligible. You're looking for something that has a target line along the lines of "target: one creature". Biting words has target "you". I might let it work being considered as a beneficial spell on yourself.
4) Concussive wont work with Biting words. Concussive only affects the target of the spell, you are the target of Biting Words and it grants you a benefit (that benefit being letting you make an attack). The enemies you hit with that attack are not targets of the spell.

But assuming you have some other valid spell to use it with, the duration would essentially reset (really overlap) and not add together.

For example, it's possible that each time you hit you could have an effect that last 1d4+1 round. The first hit could last for 5 rounds, while a second hit could last for 2. Ultimately in this case the duration of the effect would last 5 rounds from the first hit (because that's longer).


Claxon wrote:


4) Concussive wont work with Biting words. Concussive only affects the target of the spell, you are the target of Biting Words and it grants you a benefit (that benefit being letting you make an attack). The enemies you hit with that attack are not targets of the spell.

Concussive says:

1) "A concussive spell only affects spells with the sonic descriptor."
2) "A concussive spell causes creatures that take damage from a spell that has the sonic descriptor to take..."

Is the damage from Biting Words considered to come from the PC rather than the spell? Is it different than if a PC is wielding a sword the damage comes from the sword & any riders the sword's enchantment would impose occur.


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Though I guess if the spell were Shout and it caused the cavern ceiling to collapse I wouldn't say the falling rock damage came from the spell - so their is some level of direct/indirect damage.

Also, "Claxon" sounds like a spell that should benefit from Concussive metamagic.


Considering how worthless of an effect you get from upping your spell slot by 1, I'd pretty much let it work however you want. However I believe what's above is correct.


Baba Ganoush wrote:
Claxon wrote:


4) Concussive wont work with Biting words. Concussive only affects the target of the spell, you are the target of Biting Words and it grants you a benefit (that benefit being letting you make an attack). The enemies you hit with that attack are not targets of the spell.

Concussive says:

1) "A concussive spell only affects spells with the sonic descriptor."
2) "A concussive spell causes creatures that take damage from a spell that has the sonic descriptor to take..."

Is the damage from Biting Words considered to come from the PC rather than the spell? Is it different than if a PC is wielding a sword the damage comes from the sword & any riders the sword's enchantment would impose occur.

The way biting words is written the caster is the target of the spell. The spell grants an ability to the PC, and explains how it works (it deals sonic damage). But the spell itself doesn't deal sonic damage, that the distinction. Akin to your analogy about Shout and the collapsing cavern.

The enemy is never a target of or affected by the spell.

However, this also means you're not subject to spell resistance (you're not casting the spell on them), you don't need an attack roll or save (when casting the spell), and probably some other things I'm not thinking of.


Claxon wrote:
Baba Ganoush wrote:
Claxon wrote:


4) Concussive wont work with Biting words. Concussive only affects the target of the spell, you are the target of Biting Words and it grants you a benefit (that benefit being letting you make an attack). The enemies you hit with that attack are not targets of the spell.

Concussive says:

1) "A concussive spell only affects spells with the sonic descriptor."
2) "A concussive spell causes creatures that take damage from a spell that has the sonic descriptor to take..."

Is the damage from Biting Words considered to come from the PC rather than the spell? Is it different than if a PC is wielding a sword the damage comes from the sword & any riders the sword's enchantment would impose occur.

The way biting words is written the caster is the target of the spell. The spell grants an ability to the PC, and explains how it works (it deals sonic damage). But the spell itself doesn't deal sonic damage, that the distinction. Akin to your analogy about Shout and the collapsing cavern.

The enemy is never a target of or affected by the spell.

However, this also means you're not subject to spell resistance (you're not casting the spell on them), you don't need an attack roll or save (when casting the spell), and probably some other things I'm not thinking of.

Biting Words wrote:
you can target one opponent

i kind of disagree. There’s a number of spells that work similarly; e.g., Flame Fusillade; and i would interpret them as the spell doing the damage. There are always borderline cases, but i do ‘t see this as one.


I don't see Flame Fusillade as a spell available in 1st edition, so I'm not sure what you're referring to.

But you're right, I don't see this as a border case. Concussive isn't a valid metamagic because you don't target the enemy with the spell. The spell's effect is granting an attack to the target of the spell (yourself).

Also, it's disingenuous to quote that section of the spell description out of context like that.

Quote:

Biting Words

School evocation [language-dependent, sonic]; Level bard 1, bloodrager 1

CASTING

Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S

EFFECT

Range personal
Target you
Duration 1 minute/level
Saving Throw Will negates (harmless); Spell Resistance no

DESCRIPTION

Your voice becomes suffused with magic so that you can harm your opponents with but a word. As a standard action, you can target one opponent within 30 feet with a ranged touch attack by speaking to it, dealing an amount of damage equal to 1d6 + your Strength or Charisma modifier, whichever is higher. The damage dealt is bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage and can be reduced by damage reduction. Each attack you make reduces the spell’s remaining duration by 1 minute. If an attack reduces the remaining duration to 0 minutes or less, the spell ends after the attack resolves.

You can attack with biting words by shouting instead of speaking intelligibly. When doing so, the amount of damage dealt by the attack is reduced to 1d4 + 1/2 your Strength or Charisma modifier (whichever is higher), but the spell doesn’t count as having the language-dependent descriptor for that attack.

The bolded is the effect of the spell.

The italicized explains how the attack (granted by your voice being "suffused with magic") works.

Concussive spell does not work.


Steam Ray Fusillade, sorry. Also says
‘range: Personal
Target: You’


I have to disagree, Claxon: concussive spell works.

The feat:

Quote:
With sonic damage comes a concussive wave of energy that rattles creatures affected by the spell. A concussive spell causes creatures that take damage from a spell that has the sonic descriptor to take a –2 penalty on attack rolls, saving throws, skill checks, and ability checks for a number of rounds equal to the actual spell level of the spell. A concussive spell only affects spells with the sonic descriptor. A concussive spell uses up a spell slot two levels higher than the spell's actual level.

It doesn't care about the creatures being targets (in contrast to blissful, for example); it cares about whether the creatures take damage.

Biting Words has the [sonic] descriptor, and causes creatures to take damage (1d6+Str/Cha bludgeoning / piercing / slashing.) That's enough for concussive to work.


Biting Words doesn't cause the damage though, that's the issue.

It gives you an attack. That attack causes damage. But the attack isn't the direct effect of the spell. It's entirely possible to cast the spell and never use it, so the attack never happens. Or for it to be dispelled from the caster before they can use it.

The attack is a separate and discrete thing from the spell.

Lelomenia wrote:

Steam Ray Fusillade, sorry. Also says

‘range: Personal
Target: You’

Now that I'm able to look at the spell, it's a similar case as I've already laid out.

The spell grants an attack, but isn't an attack. If there were something analogous to Concussive but requiring the fire or water descriptors instead of sonic you would still have the issue that the spell itself doesn't deal damage.


I'd say more than the sonic descriptor, the language-dependent descriptor makes this a spell attack. It says so right in the text:

Quote:

Biting Words

School evocation [language-dependent, sonic]

You can attack with biting words by shouting instead of speaking intelligibly. When doing so, the amount of damage dealt by the attack is reduced to 1d4 + 1/2 your Strength or Charisma modifier (whichever is higher), but the spell doesn’t count as having the language-dependent descriptor for that attack.

Concussive Spell should work.


I still don't agree, the descriptors and the target and range are at odds with one another.

And it's not unique to this spell, it happens in a lot of spells in Pathfinder.

Ultimately your GM will have to make a ruling, but without Paizo clarifying (and they're not going to touch PF1 again) we can't know the intention.

I stand by the spell range and target superseding anything else, and say the spell grants an attack to the caster but doesn't actually do anything to the enemy (or anyone else).

And since the spell effects the caster and not others, concussive would only affect the caster (if they somehow took damage from the spell).

However, it all comes down to what you individually choose to put emphasis on in the spell description. I will concede that the spell is at odds with itself.


Claxon wrote:

Biting Words doesn't cause the damage though, that's the issue.

It gives you an attack. That attack causes damage. But the attack isn't the direct effect of the spell. It's entirely possible to cast the spell and never use it, so the attack never happens. Or for it to be dispelled from the caster before they can use it.

The attack is a separate and discrete thing from the spell.

Lelomenia wrote:

Steam Ray Fusillade, sorry. Also says

‘range: Personal
Target: You’

Now that I'm able to look at the spell, it's a similar case as I've already laid out.

The spell grants an attack, but isn't an attack. If there were something analogous to Concussive but requiring the fire or water descriptors instead of sonic you would still have the issue that the spell itself doesn't deal damage.

Would you rule that attacks made with the produce flame spell also would not benefit from (concussive) a metamagic that boosts fire damage? Given it has a

Target: effect in your hand
Range: 0

Produce flame could also expire or be dispelled before you could ever use it to attack. Likewise held charge spells could also be dispelled before you ever attack with them. So neither of those reasons, on their own, are sufficient justification to deny consussive working with Biting Words.

IMO, Biting Words works with concussive. It grants you, the caster, extra options, just like produce flame does. But it is still the magic of the spell dealing the damage.


Yeah, I might not rule the same way on Produce Flame as Biting Words, because "effect: flame in your hand" is different from a spell with "range: personal target: you".


But, again, nothing in Concussive Spell cares about the spell's target. It cares about creatures that are taking damage from a [sonic] spell.

If the spell conjured an arcane megaphone of pure sound that emitted the biting words each round, there wouldn't be an apparent controversy. Why should there be if the caster installs such a weapon in herself?


Concussive spell says:

Quote:
Benefit: With sonic damage comes a concussive wave of energy that rattles creatures affected by the spell. A concussive spell causes creatures that take damage from a spell that has the sonic descriptor to take a –2 penalty on attack rolls, saving throws, skill checks, and ability checks for a number of rounds equal to the actual spell level of the spell. A concussive spell only affects spells with the sonic descriptor.

Biting words doesn't damage the target (the caster) it instead grants them an attack. The spell does no damage itself. No one takes damage from the spell. That's why the attacks granted by the spell do have to worry about spell resistance. If it was an average evocation spell targeting a enemy it would have to deal with spell resistance and either a save or attack roll.

That's the crux of the problem in my opinion. The way I see it, the spell doesn't count as dealing damage to anyone, it's sole effect is to grant an ability (which happens to be an attack). That's why concussive doesn't work in my view point.

I can easily understand how you might arrive at another conclusion, if you ignore the target and range descriptors of the spell and emphasize other parts instead.

It honestly seems like the writer of this spell simply didn't know how to write a spell that attack an enemy but last for more than one attack. So they wrote it to affect the caster instead, and had it grant an ability to make an attack. Except, that's not really appropriate (in my opinion) for a evocation spell to do (but that's really tangential to the discussion).

Ultimately, the spell is badly written (IMO).


Claxon wrote:
Biting words doesn't damage the target (the caster) it instead grants them an attack. The spell does no damage itself. No one takes damage from the spell. That's why the attacks granted by the spell do have to worry about spell resistance. If it was an average evocation spell targeting a enemy it would have to deal with spell resistance and either a save or attack roll.

For discussion purposes we can stir Tamer's Lash into the mix - like biting words it allows the caster to make an attack (acts as a whip that deals 1d4 points of sonic damage on a hit)- unlike biting words Spell Resistance applies to the attack.

Also, better examples for
One target
Several metamagics have this language: "You can alter any spell that targets a single creature." I assume that it doesn't mean that the spell block can only have "Target: 1 creature", but could also include "Target: one creature/level, no two of which can be more than 30 ft. apart" (Cure Light Wounds, Mass or "Target: creature or creatures touched (up to one/level)" (e.g. [url=https://www.aonprd.com/SpellDisplay.aspx?ItemName=Touch%20of%20Blindness]Touch of Blindness[url] - SO LONG as the caster only targets one creature & that the spell would not take effect on additional creatures if the caster targeted more than one- Correct?


I'm not sure which metamagics say "spells that target a single creature" but I would actually argue it means what it says. If a spell targets more than one creature, I would say it's disqualified from that metamagic.

As for Tamer's Lash, it's basically like Produce Flame, it has an effect line which is the creation of a whip of magical sound energy. That effect line sets it apart from Biting Words in my mind. It would qualify for Concussive.


As an aside, it a home game I might let a player use Concussive with Biting Words, as the cost of increasing the spell slot by 2 is pretty severe for the debuff it provides.

But I am trying to explain how my understanding of it works within the constraints of the rules, as this is the rules forum.


Claxon wrote:


Biting words doesn't damage the target (the caster) it instead grants them an attack. The spell does no damage itself. No one takes damage from the spell.

I think the crux of the discussion centers around this.

I disagree that enemies that take damage from Biting Words are not taking damage from the spell. They are being affected from the spell just as much as if I was throwing produce flame balls at them, or if I had cast a wall of fire and they walked through it.

The spell caster themselve, while also "affected" by the spell, is not taking damage from the spell, so the concussive would not apply any penalty to them. Note that concussive doesn't care if a creature was targeted by the spell. It cares if a creature takes damage from the spell.

Biting words does "[suffuse your words] with magic so that you can harm your opponents with but a word."


bbangerter wrote:
Claxon wrote:


Biting words doesn't damage the target (the caster) it instead grants them an attack. The spell does no damage itself. No one takes damage from the spell.

I think the crux of the discussion centers around this.

I disagree that enemies that take damage from Biting Words are not taking damage from the spell. They are being affected from the spell just as much as if I was throwing produce flame balls at them, or if I had cast a wall of fire and they walked through it.

The spell caster themselve, while also "affected" by the spell, is not taking damage from the spell, so the concussive would not apply any penalty to them. Note that concussive doesn't care if a creature was targeted by the spell. It cares if a creature takes damage from the spell.

Biting words does "[suffuse your words] with magic so that you can harm your opponents with but a word."

And I can totally understand how you would reach the conclusion, I just don't agree that is what is happening.

In my mind because the spell is range personal target you I interpret the spell as only affecting you, and it's affect is to augment your abilities. I wouldn't consider the damage dealt to be damage "from the spell". But I agree that the spell is not clearly or cleanly written.

And if instead it had an effect line that said "you create a ball of sonic energy" and the spell text said that you can make attack with it as a standard action it would be functionally similar, but I would say that it now is compatible with this new "Sonic Sphere" spell.

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