Archives of Nethys

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All Rules in Magic

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Mastering Magic

Source Ultimate Magic pg. 92
Anyone can be a spellcaster. If you can crack open a book and knuckle down in your studies, you can probably become a passable wizard. If you can devote yourself in body and soul to a god—and why wouldn’t you, when there’s such a variety to choose from?—you may find yourself endowed with magical powers simply for having faith in your god’s (and your own) righteousness. Oracles are chosen without their consent, far-roving rangers pick up magical tricks and traps, druids channel the will of nature, sorcerers get their abilities as dubious presents from philandering ancestors, and bards find magical inspiration in performance and art. Magic is everywhere in the Pathf inder Roleplaying Game, and many of the movers and shakers in towns and cities of any significant size have a spell or two up their sleeves.

But those are just ordinary people who have access to magic. Basic hedge wizards may make a fine living crafting glowing swords, and a priest with the ability to heal broken bones is a must for any church that wants to win itself a congregation, but such everyday spellcasters are hardly the stuff of legend. Instead, those magic users who get remembered as heroes and legends—rather than simply magical craftsmen and merchants—take these same techniques and build upon them, seeking out ever-more-elusive knowledge and crafting new spells of magnificent power. It is with these esoteric practices that the greatest make names for themselves; these potent arts set the masters apart from mundane practitioners.

Spellblights

Source Ultimate Magic pg. 94
Spellblights are rare and unusual magical conditions that uniquely affect spellcasters, including creatures that use spell-like abilities. Spellblights are curses, some functioning continuously and others manifesting only when the aff licted creature attempts to cast a spell or use a spell-like ability. A creature that lacks the ability to cast spells or use spell-like abilities cannot usually be afflicted by a spellblight.

Unlike many magical effects, a spellblight usually persists in an antimagic field, though because they often affect spellcasting, their effect is typically lessened in such a field.

Spell Duels

Source Ultimate Magic pg. 99
Spellcasters are no strangers to battle, but there’s a difference between the chaos of a huge melee, with dozens of feral monsters seeking to tear the caster limb from limb, and a more civilized duel between rivals seeking to settle a dispute. Make no mistake, these duels can be just as deadly, but the rules surrounding them make for a different style of combat—one in which both combatants can attack and defend with ease, allowing the true skill and power of each to determine the victor.

Binding Outsiders

Source Ultimate Magic pg. 101
One of the most potent tools a spellcasters can wield is the command of summoned creatures; the most powerful of these spells call forth allies mightier than mere flesh, reaching from the depths of Hell to the peaks of Heaven, and even stranger places beyond the pale. When reaching for knowledge and forces from other planes, a spellcaster must have control over the strengths and weaknesses of their targets, or face doom far worse than any that might be visited upon them in the Material Plane. A spellcaster wishing to bind such creatures who cannot play to the desires of his summoned captive will surely lose control, and may find himself torn from his reality as a plaything of the multiverse’s cruelest tormentors.

Building and Modifying Constructs

Source Ultimate Magic pg. 111
The Craft Construct feat allows a spellcaster to create all manner of permanent constructs in a process much like magic item creation. Each construct has a purchase price and a crafting cost, along with a list of requirements and the skills used to create them. Some require special materials in addition to the cost for basic crafting supplies, generally for the construct’s body. Special material costs increase both the purchase price and the crafting cost of the construct. The DC to craft a construct is 5 + the default caster level of the construct, just like for a magic item. Like when crafting magic items, a creator with a sufficiently high skill bonus may ignore these requirements. Each missing requirement increases the Craft DC by 5. Regardless, the creator must meet all item creation feats and minimum caster level requirements. Crafting a construct takes 1 day per 1,000 gp in the item’s base price, excluding any special material costs. This process is identical to the process for crafting a magic item, including the rules for accelerating creation and handling interruptions.

Designing Spells

Source Ultimate Magic pg. 128
Designing spells for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game is a complex task that is part art, part science. This section describes what you need to think about when designing balanced, playable spells for your campaign.

Unlike magic items, spells have predefined power levels corresponding to the spell levels already in the game. When you design a spell, you have to take those power levels into account by comparing the new spell to existing spells in the Core Rulebook—a spell has to fall into the narrow range of power for one of the nine spell levels (plus cantrips or orisons). In contrast, prices for magic items are strongly granular, and are calculated to the gold piece based on precisely what features the item possesses. In other words, if you add more power to a magic item, you just increase its price to compensate, but if you add too much power to a spell, you have to make it a higher-level spell, which means you then have to compare it to a different set of example spells.