Some Notes About Spells That Every Player Should Know
A spell is a one-time magical effect. Spells come in two types: arcane (cast by bards, sorcerers, and wizards) and divine (cast by clerics, druids, and experienced paladins and rangers). Some spellcasters select their spells from a limited list of spells known,while others have access to a wide variety of options. Most spellcasters prepare their spells in advance—whether from a spellbook or through devout prayers and meditation—while some cast spells spontaneously without preparation. Despite these different ways that characters use to learn or prepare their spells, when it comes to casting them, the spells are very much alike.
To cast a spell, you must be able to speak (if the spell has a verbal component), gesture (if it has a somatic component), and you must concentrate to cast a spell—and it’s hard to concentrate in the head of battle. To cast a spell, you must concentrate. If something interrupts your concentration while you’re casting, you must make a Concentration check or lose the spell.
Injury: Getting hurt or being affected
by hostile magic while trying to cast a spell can break your concentration
and ruin the spell.
If while trying to cast a spell you take damage, you must make a Concentration check (DC 10 + points of damage taken + the level ofthe spell you’re casting). If you fail the check, you lose the spell without effect. If you are taking continuous damage, such as from Melf’s acid arrow, half the damage is considered to take place while you are casting a spell. You must make a Concentration check (DC 10 + 1/2 the damage that the continuous source last dealt + the level of thespell you’re casting).
Spells: If you are affected by a spell while attempting to cast a spell of your own, you must make a Concentration check or lose the spellyou are casting. If the spell affecting you deals damage, the DC is 10+ points of damage + the level of the spell you’re casting. If the spell interferes with you or distracts you in some other way, the DC is the spell’s saving throw DC + the level of the spell you’re casting.
Grappling or Pinned: The only spells you can cast while grappling or pinned are those without somatic components and whose material components (if any) you have in hand. Even so, you must make a Concentration check (DC 20 + the level of the spell you’recasting) or lose the spell.
Vigorous Motion: If you are riding on a moving mount, taking a bouncy ride in a wagon, on a small boat in rough water, below-decks in a storm-tossed ship, or simply being jostled in a similar fashion, you must make a Concentration check (DC 10 + the level of the spell you’re casting) or lose the spell.
Violent Weather: You must make a Concentration check if you try to cast a spell in violent weather. If you are in a high wind carrying blinding rain or sleet, the DC is 5 + the level of the spell you’re casting. If you are in wind-driven hail, dust, or debris, the DCis 10 + the level of the spell you’re casting. In either case, you lose the spell if you fail the Concentration check. If the weather is caused by a spell, use the rules in the Spell subsection above.
Casting Defensively: If you want to cast a spell without provoking any attacks of opportunity, you need to dodge and weave. You must make a Concentration check (DC 15 + the level of the spell you’re casting) to succeed. You lose the spell if you fail.
Counterspelling: How Counterspells Work: To use a counterspell,
you must select an opponent as the target of the counterspell. You do this
choosing the ready action (page 160). In doing so, you elect to wait to complete your action until your opponent tries to cast a spell. (You may still move your speed, since ready is a standard action.) If the target of your counterspell tries to cast a spell, make a Spellcraft check (DC 15 + the spell’s level). This check is a free action. If the check succeeds, you correctly identify the opponent’s spell and can attempt to counter it. If the check fails, you can’t do either of these things. To complete the action, you must then cast the correct spell. As a general rule, a spell can only counter itself. For example, a fireball spell is effective as a counter to another fireball spell, but not to any other spell, no matter how similar. Fireball cannot counter delayed blast fireball or vice versa. If you are able to cast the same spell and you have it prepared (if you prepare spells), you cast it, altering it slightly to create a counterspell effect. If the target is within range, both spells automatically negate each other with no other results. Counterspelling Metamagic Spells: Metamagic feats are not taken into account when determining whether a spell can be
countered. For example, a normal fireball can counter a maximized. Specific Exceptions: Some spells specifically counter each other, especially when they have diametrically opposed effects. For example, you can counter a haste spell with a slow spell as well as with another haste spell, or you can counter reduce person with enlarge person. Dispel Magic as a Counterspell: You can use dispel magic to counterspell another spellcaster, and you don’t need to identify the spell he or she is casting. However, dispel magic doesn’t always work
as a counterspell (see the spell description, page 223).
Line of Effect: A line of effect is a straight, unblocked
path that indicates what a spell can affect. A line of effect is canceled
by a solid
barrier. It’s like line of sight for ranged weapons, except that it’s not blocked by fog, darkness, and other factors that limit normal sight. You must have a clear line of effect to any target that you cast aspell on or to any space in which you wish to create an effect (such as conjuring a monster). You must have a clear line of effect to the point of origin of any spell you cast, such as the center of a fireball. A burst, cone, cylinder, or emanation spell affects only an area, creatures, or objects to which it has line of effect from its origin (a spherical burst’s center point, a cone-shaped burst’s starting point, a cylinder’s circle, or an emanation’s point of origin).
Touch Spells and Holding the Charge: In most cases, if youdon’t
discharge a touch spell on the round you cast it, you can hold the charge
(postpone the discharge of the spell) indefinitely. You can make touch attacks
round after round. If you cast another spell, the touch spell dissipates.
Some touch spells, such as teleport and water walk, allow you to touch multiple
targets as part of the spell. You can’t hold the charge
of such a spell; you must touch all targets of the spell in the same round that you finish casting the spell. Discharge: Occasionally a spells lasts for a set duration or until triggered or discharged. For instance, magic mouth waits until triggered,
and the spell ends once the mouth has said its message.
(D) Dismissible: If the Duration line ends with “(D),” you can dismiss the spell at will. You must be within range of the spell’s
effect and must speak words of dismissal, which are usually a modified form of the spell’s verbal component. If the spell has no verbal component, you can dismiss the effect with a gesture. Dismissing a spell is a standard action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity. A spell that depends on concentration is dismissible by its very nature, and dismissing it does not take an action, since all you have
to do to end the spell is to stop concentrating on your turn.
SPELL RESISTANCE: Spell resistance is a special defensive ability. If your spell is being resisted by a creature with spell resistance, you must make a caster level check (1d20 + caster level) at least equal to the creature’s spell resistance for the spell to affect that creature. The defender’s spell resistance is like an Armor Class against magical attacks. The Dungeon Master’s Guide has more details on spell resistance. Include any adjustments to your caster level (such as from domain granted powers) to this caster level check. The Spell Resistance entry and the descriptive text of a spell description tell you whether spell resistance protects creatures from the spell. In many cases, spell resistance applies only when a resistant creature is targeted by the spell, not when a resistant creature encounters a spell that is already in place. The terms “object” and “harmless” mean the same thing for spell resistance as they do for saving throws. A creature with spell resistance must voluntarily lower the resistance (a standard action) in order to be affected by a spell noted as harmless. In such a case, you do not need to make the caster level check described above.