Archives of Nethys

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All Rules in Magic

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Magic Basics

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 206
From creating a wisp of light to causing the ground itself to shatter and break, spells are a source of immense power. 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 spells in advance—whether from a spellbook or through prayers—while some cast spells spontaneously without preparation. Despite these different ways characters use to learn or prepare their spells, when it comes to casting them, the spells are very much alike.

Casting Spells

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 206
Whether a spell is arcane or divine, and whether a character prepares spells in advance or chooses them on the spot, casting a spell works the same way.

Spell Descriptions

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 209
The description of each spell is presented in a standard format. Each category of information is explained and defined below.

Arcane Spells

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 218
Wizards, sorcerers, and bards cast arcane spells. Compared to divine spells, arcane spells are more likely to produce dramatic results.

Spell Slots: The various character class tables show how many spells of each level a character can cast per day. These openings for daily spells are called spell slots. A spellcaster always has the option to fill a higher-level spell slot with a lower-level spell. A spellcaster who lacks a high enough ability score to cast spells that would otherwise be his due still gets the slots but must fill them with spells of lower levels.

Divine Spells

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 220
Clerics, druids, experienced paladins, and experienced rangers can cast divine spells. Unlike arcane spells, divine spells draw power from a divine source. Clerics gain spell power from deities or from divine forces. The divine force of nature powers druid and ranger spells, and the divine forces of law and good power paladin spells. Divine spells tend to focus on healing and protection and are less f lashy, destructive, and disruptive than arcane spells.

Psychic Magic

Source Occult Adventures pg. 144
Wizards study ancient tomes to unlock arcane secrets of the universe, and clerics pray to distant deities to grant them divine power. Yet there is a third, more esoteric kind of magic, connected to every creature’s composite being, from the conscious mind to the deepest desire, from the life force to the spirit, from the very soul to the cosmic self. This third type of magic is psychic magic.

A psychic spell largely functions like any other spell. It’s another type of magic, similar to arcane or divine magic—in fact, those who use psychic magic are easily mistaken for practitioners of arcane and divine traditions. Metamagic feats and any other rules that alter or trigger from spells can usually be used with psychic spells (though see the Components section below for a few exceptions). Psychic spellcasters aren’t affected by effects that target only arcane or divine spellcasters, nor can they use arcane or divine scrolls or other items or feats that state they can be utilized by only arcane or divine spellcasters.

Special Abilities

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 221
A number of classes and creatures gain the use of special abilities, many of which function like spells.

Spell-Like Abilities: Usually, a spell-like ability works just like the spell of that name. A spell-like ability has no verbal, somatic, or material component, nor does it require a focus. The user activates it mentally. Armor never affects a spell-like ability’s use, even if the ability resembles an arcane spell with a somatic component.

A spell-like ability has a casting time of 1 standard action unless noted otherwise in the ability or spell description. In all other ways, a spell-like ability functions just like a spell.

Spell-like abilities are subject to spell resistance and dispel magic. They do not function in areas where magic is suppressed or negated. Spell-like abilities cannot be used to counterspell, nor can they be counterspelled.

If a character class grants a spell-like ability that is not based on an actual spell, the ability’s effective spell level is equal to the highest-level class spell the character can cast, and is cast at the class level the ability is gained.

Supernatural Abilities: These can’t be disrupted in combat and generally don’t provoke attacks of opportunity. They aren’t subject to spell resistance, counterspells, or dispel magic, and don’t function in antimagic areas.

Extraordinary Abilities: These abilities cannot be disrupted in combat, as spells can, and they generally do not provoke attacks of opportunity. Effects or areas that negate or disrupt magic have no effect on extraordinary abilities. They are not subject to dispelling, and they function normally in an antimagic field. Indeed, extraordinary abilities do not qualify as magical, though they may break the laws of physics.

Natural Abilities: This category includes abilities a creature has because of its physical nature. Natural abilities are those not otherwise designated as extraordinary, supernatural, or spell-like.