Magic

Last episode of Delve, we talked about activities. While actions in the game generate an effect, sometimes more than one action is needed to generate an effect instead. I presented some sample examples of activities, featuring challenges or tasks occurring in adventures. But activities are most common among the spellcasting classes.

Whether you are a wizards or spellsword, priest or paladin, you’ll have spells in your arsenal. But on the way to unlocking those spells, you character received the special training—or actions to cast them. The actions are based on the source of your power, are sometimes flavored by particulars of that source, and one or more of them are used in combination to produce a spell effect.

As an example, let’s look at the divine spellcasting actions.

spellcasting-actionsWhen a priest casts a spell, the spell features the required spellcasting action needed to generate its effects. For example, one of the most basic orisons, which are fundamental divine spells, reviving word takes only one of these actions, Litany of Faith, to bring succor to a dying creature. If the priest wants to do more, she must cast cure wounds or some higher mastery spell, but I the case of cure wounds, that spell requires both a Divine Vessel and Symbol of Faith action to cast.

Generally, you’ll need two actions to cast most of your spells. Quick relief spells, buff spells, and even some minor but stinging offensive spells may only require one action. Summoning spells, spells that generate large effects and sometimes when you sacrifice a spell you’ll need to invest three actions. In the case of rituals, you will have to spend time repeating these actions for a number of minutes (typically 10 minutes or more) barring the effectiveness of such spells within in the space of the encounter play.

Typically you can take the actions in any order you like. Unless stated otherwise, spellcasting is a free but consecutive activity that generates its effect as soon as the last action of that activity culminates. Those of you that have been paying attention will notice that two of the divine spellcasting actions have the manipulate element. This is importune considering Strike modified with a talent like Opportune Strike, as you saw in the 2nd-level version of Ez’s Strike talent. Many reactions are triggered by actions with the manipulate element, so using these in proximity to the enemy can be rather … let’s say … punishing.

If you are playing an arcane, psychic, or even more exotic kind of caster, you will gain access to different forms of casting actions. Casting action must be used to cast their specific form of spells, but if you have levels in two classes that cast the same type of spells, they can be used interchangeably. In other words, you can use the divine actions to cast divine spells whether you are a paladin or a priest, but can’t use them to cast spells as a wizard or a spellblade. This is important with both talent selection and the uses of such magic treasures as mysteries, scrolls, wands, relics and others items that enhance your spellcasting.

Sometimes, these spellcasting talents also aid in using abilities granted by talents from spellcasting classes or special activities that might pop up in an adventure.

So what do spells look like and what does it mean to sacrifice a spell? Well, that’s a conversation for another time. See you next week.

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About neogrognard

Stephen began working on RPGs in 2000, when he became the RPGA editoral assistant at Wizards of the Coast, working on both Polyhedron magazine and Living Greyhawk Journal. Over the years he’s administered the Living Greyhawk campaign, aided in the development of the D&D 3.5 Edition rules, was a developer for D&D 4th Edition and Star Wars Saga Edition, taught numerous game design classes in the Seattle area, and contributed to the Pathfinder RPG Advanced Player’s Guide and Ultimate Magic as a freelance designer. He has worked at Paizo for the past six years and is now the senior designer for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. He’s also the guy who designs the Pathfinder Flip-Mats and Map Packs. His current credits include Southlands for Kobold Press, as well as Hell’s Vengeance: For Queen & Empire, Horror Adventure, and Villain Codex, all for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.
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