Powerful sustained spells


Looking for a list of powerful spells on any spell list that can be sustained.

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Calm emotions
Hideous laughter
Roaring applause
Illusory creature

Prying eye

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Besides the ones Gesalt mentioned, there are a few damaging ones that are really good for long encounters.

Illusory Creature (damage is far from excellent, but it has lots of other uses)
Phantom Orchestra
Control Sand (uncommon and comes from an AP)

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I'd add Girzanje's March, a buff spell that provides bonuses to attack rolls, Fortitude saves and most Will saves. I had trouble justifying it before getting Effortless Concentration as a Bard, but once Effortless Concentration comes into play, it's like casting Inspire Courage and Inspire Defense at once without needing a Performance check to get a bonus beyond +1.

For damage Phantom Orchestra (damage and small moveable 10' sonic burst) and Awaken Entropy (small stationary area that grows bigger and does considerably more damage over time with void/force to ensure it effects all possible targets) are the best imo. Invoke Spirits is worse damage than Phantome Orchestra but does have crit fail frighten 2 and (first time only) flee effect.

For control Whirlpool (25' difficult terrain, 58% fireball damage, move them 10' closer to center on a fail, all the way to center on crit fail), Vaccuum (kind of sustained Synaptic Pulse that's not mental but targets Fort and is a bit weaker in return for a fantastic crit fail effect), Laughing Fit (renamed Hideous Laughter).

When sustaining Phantom Orchestra are you using the manipulate action or concentration?


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I've been waiting to eventually use Aqueous Orb, it's a non-damage spell but seems like a real winner.


Lets you take over a 10-ft diameter area, and even if enemies save to dodge out of the way, you get to control space and force enemies around in a very unique way.

Every failed reflex save is at least one action stolen to escape the orb.

If they get caught, targets can potentially drown.

And of course, there's room for shenanigans via an ally preparing for aquatic combat. In theory it seems an archer or pointy martial could greatly benefit from a spellcaster hovering the orb over them. Auto off-guard means a water-breathing rogue could have a ball just floating along, shanking foes that fail the reflex check.

What are your guys thoughts on this one, it's rare but we have access https://2e.aonprd.com/Spells.aspx?ID=1301 if heightened to 6th level is it comparable to Phantom Orchestra?

First time I see this one. Damage is really high for some reason (a significant gain over Fireball at rank 3 with a single sustain), inflicts Prone on a failure, which is great, and it creates a tiny, movable difficult terrain area.

The AoE is super small, though, so catching more than one creature will not always be possible (can't even hit 2 creatures that moved into flanking position). The amount of movement the spell allows is also very small, 10ft is really easy to get away from.

Overall, without having tried it, I think it looks decent. Not exactly a proper AoE spell, but it can sometimes catch 2 creatures. Against bosses it will be a bit clunky, since prone will be rarely inflicted against the big threat, but with other forms of CC from the rest of the party I can see this being good if the fight last for long (in the particular case of a solo boss, if the enemy is burning 1 action every other turn to get away from your tornado it is not even a bad trade if the fight drags a bit). Wouldn't ever pick it over Phantom Orchestra once you get rank 6 spells, though (being able to pop the AoE whenever is a huge boon).

I kinda like it for an occult Witch. Occult has few reflex targetting spells and Witch has access to Cackle for a free sustain in a pinch.

Edit: A similar spell is Rouse Skeletons. Deals half the damage but it has a bigger area that also creates difficult terrain and it is more maneuverable.

Hmm ya good points. It's also 3 actions which isn't the greatest. I guess the biggest thing it's got going for it over Phantom Orchestra is that it targets reflex instead of fort, it can prone, and it creates difficult terrain. Now is that worth the extra action cost, less damage and less area of effect? I dunno. But your saying definitely it's not, that's fair.

They limited the movement on the cyclone I think to prevent some flaming sphere pf1 type effect where it keeps damaging as it moves around the battlefield.

competitive edge if there are no bard in the team

Cyclone Rondo is rare and a typically underedited AP spell, so ask your GM who will most likely say no.

Also note that it doesn't do damage on initial cast, only once you sustain it. It's not the only sustain spell that operates that way - Freezing Rain's damage option also only kicks in later, and there may be others.

Xenocrat wrote:

Also note that it doesn't do damage on initial cast

Missed that when I first read it, it hurts the spell a lot.

Nobody mentioned Pernicious Poltergeist? It's Fort save option (Deathly Assault) I don't like much since it can only target 1 enemy within the burst radius, but what about the reflex save option (Telekinetic Storm)? The damage when Heightened to 6th level (same as Phantom Orchestra) it does a bit less dmg but it does have targeting Reflex going for it as opposed to Fort which is typically the worst save to target. Thoughts?

Or what about Poltergeists Fury?

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Pernicious Poltergeist doesn’t let you move the area, that’s what kills it for me. Phantom Orchestra’s repositioning is key.

Xenocrat wrote:
Pernicious Poltergeist doesn’t let you move the area, that’s what kills it for me. Phantom Orchestra’s repositioning is key.

Good call! Thanks

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