Question: Can I choose a lower caster level than the item (provided it is sufficient to activate the spell in question) voluntarily at the moment of activation?
Context (if it matters): I received a plot-based item in an adventure that lets me do resist energy (cold or electricity only) at caster-level 19 3x per day.
We are currently level 8. I can count on 1 finger the number of times we have been attacked with cold or electricity attacks in the whole campaign. Moreover, since that attack came out of nowhere, I of course did not have the spell up, so we've benefited from the item 0 times to date.
I want to put a protection energy spell on my self at one caster-level higher than my own caster-level so that this spell effect is likely the first spell peeled off if I am hit by a dispel magic that starts with the highest caster level effect. If I do the effect at caster level 19 there is almost no chance my enemy will be able to dispel it, and thus it will not absorb the dispel magic effect, and the dispel magic spell will just progress to my next spell (which is probably actually useful).
|Taja the Barbarian|
Sounds like you are talking about one of Terendelev's Scales, but this is not a spell trigger item: It is a minor artifact that allows the user to cast the listed spell.
And no, there is no ability to lower the caster level of an item or the spell effects it generates, though your GM might allow you to as a house rule...
|Taja the Barbarian|
You can kinda-sorta throttle a staff:
Most magic items haven't a throttle. They are either inactive or active at full power.I think you can choose the CL of a spell cast by a staff and some magic item has different powers with different CL, but I don't think there are other options.
PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 491 ...
Using Staves: Staves use the wielder’s ability score and relevant feats to set the DC for saves against their spells. Unlike with other sorts of magic items, the wielder can use his caster level when activating the power of a staff if it’s higher than the caster level of the staff
You can only use your own caster level (which you can throttle) if it is higher than the staff's, so the staff's caster level is still the minimum caster level you could end up with...