Spellcraft

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Description

Ability Score Used: Choose One
Usable Untrained? No (Bailiwick)
Armor Check Penalty Applies? No

Only Sorcerers and Wizards may learn this bailiwick skill. Bards may learn this bailiwick skill if they choose it instead of Spycraft at character creation, and a character with the Minor Magic rogue talent may also learn this skill. No other class may place ranks in it unless they have an ability which specifically states they may put ranks into a bailiwick skill not normally offered by their class. A bailiwick skill is a skill that represents the core competency of a style of adventure, and has many useful applications.

The spellcraft skill is an expression of your practical knowledge of the arcane and its effects. For each rank a character places in spellcraft, the character receives a free rank in Knowledge (Arcana). Note that no character may ever have more ranks in a skill than her character level.

Each character class gains a single bailiwick skill at character creation, and this bailiwick skill is always a natural talent for your character. When you place your first rank in this skill, you must select one of your ability modifiers, and use that ability modifier as the key ability modifier for this skill. Once selected, this ability modifier may not be changed, except through the Reselection rules. Natural talent skills never suffer an armor check penalty, even if you associate that skill with your STR or DEX modifier.

If you gain a second bailiwick skill (usually through a racial trait), it is not automatically a natural talent (even though you typically get to choose which of your ability score modifiers is aligned to the second bailiwick skill). Armor check penalties do apply to the second bailiwick skill if you choose to associate it with your STR or DEX modifier, and you do not gain matching ranks in the linked skill for that bailiwick skill (in the case of spellcraft, Knowledge (Arcana)).

As with all skills, the uses below are merely suggestions, and by no means the full gamut of possible ways a skill can be used. Players and GM's are encouraged to find additional ways to use each skill.

Concentrate

To cast a spell, you must concentrate. If something interrupts your concentration while you're casting, you must make a Concentration skill check or lose the spell. The more distracting the interruption and the higher the level of the spell you are trying to cast, the higher the DC.

Concentration checks are typically made for the following reasons (though other reasons may occur as well):

  • to cast a spell while threatened by an enemy in combat
  • to cause a spell to overcome the spell resistance of a creature
  • to manipulate a spell which emulates a combat maneuver (such as Black Tentacles (Spell)) to overcome the target's Maneuver Defense
  • casting a spell while grappled or pinned

Casting Defensively

You can attempt to cast a spell while threatened by an enemy in combat, but it is inherently risky. This is sometimes referred to as 'casting while threatened', 'casting defensively', 'concentration check', or 'combat casting'. These terms are all effectively interchangeable, as they all refer to making a skill check to cast a spell due to being threatened by an enemy. Note that casting defensively cannot normally provoke an attack of opportunity. Instead, the spell either succeeds or fails, depending on the outcome of the check.

The target DC of defensive casting is 10 + (spell level x 4). As a result, casting lower level spells while threatened is far less risky to a higher level caster than trying to cast one of their best spells while threatened.

Overcome Spell Resistance

You can use concentration to attempt to force your spells through the defenses of a creature which is immune to spells. Such creatures have a special ability called Spell Resistance, which means that all spells or spell-like abilities must first make a concentration check versus a DC of the target creature's Maneuver Defense, or the spell fails to affect that creature. This special ability is effectively an immunity to spells! However, as a big damned hero, you can focus your will, and try to blast through this defense anyway. You're just that much of a bad-ass.

Manipulate Spell Effect

Some spells, such as Black Tentacles (Spell), emulate the effects of one or more Combat Maneuvers. As such, the effects of the spell go against the creature's Maneuver Defense score, instead of its Armor Class. Instead of using your own Might or Sleight of Hand skills to challenge your target, you use the power of your spell to manipulate your opponent on your behalf. You don't need bulging muscles and an obsession with high-protein diets to grapple monsters — you've got MAGIC! Spells which work inflict combat maneuver-like effects will also describe the need to use a concentrate check in place of might or sleight of hand in the text of the spell.

Casting While Grappling

If you are suffering under the grappled condition due to the actions of an enemy creature, you can cast a spell without any somatic components simply by casting defensively (see above). However, spells with somatic components require a Concentration check to cast, versus a DC of the grappler's Maneuver Defense, or the spell fails and the action to cast it is wasted. This Concentration check counts as the Casting Defensively check for casting the spell in melee (i.e. it is not in addition to a defensive casting Concentration check).

Adverse Conditions

If you are vigorously moving, in the middle of a violent storm, trying to stay upright on a tossing ship, or are otherwise being aggressively affected by your environment, you don't normally need to make a concentration check to cast a spell, because you're just that awesome. However, if you are attempting to cast a spell in the middle of a typhoon while on a sinking ship AND you are forced to make a concentration check for any reason, you suffer one or more penalties to the check due to the adverse conditions present.

Action Required:

Usually part of the same action as casting a spell

DC of Check:
Modifiers to Check
  • Damaged During Casting: If you suffer damage during the act of casting a spell (usually due to a readied action), you increase the DC of your concentration check by +5.
  • Bad Weather / Hazardous Environment: If you are in a terrible storm, or standing on a crumbling shelf in the midst of an earthquake, or any other adverse conditions that do not inflict damage each round, the DC of any concentration check is increased by +5.
  • Dangerous Weather / Damaging Environment: If you are in a storm with flung debris, standing on a razor-sharp bed of shifting obsidian skree, or standing ankle-deep in an acid swamp, where you are suffering damage from the environment every round, the DC of any concentration check is increased by +10.
Take 10? / Take 20?

No (though some class features, feats, and abilities may allow this).

Allows Assists?

No

Results of Success

You successfully cast the spell.

Consequences of Failure

You lose the spell, just as if you had cast it to no effect.

Retry Allowed?

Yes, with a new spell. The spell of the initial attempt is lost, as though it had been cast.

Provokes AOO?

No

Identify A Spell

You can attempt to identify a spell or spell-like ability as it is being cast. This may provide useful information about how it can be resisted, or what secondary effects it might inflict.

Identifying a spell as it is being cast requires no action, but you must be able to clearly see the spell as it is being cast, and this incurs the same penalties as a Perception check due to distance, poor conditions, and other factors.

Action Required:

Free action, which can be performed outside of your turn.

DC of Check:

10 + double the caster's level or CR

Modifiers to Check
  • Distance To Caster: Like perception checks, you take a -1 penalty to your spellcraft check to identify a spell being cast for every 10 feet of distance between you and the target (cumulative).
  • Poor Conditions: Any conditions which hamper your ability to see the target, such as rain, fog, etc. inflict a penalty to your check. This ranges from -2 to -20, depending on how severely the conditions affect your perception of the target. A -2 penalty might be caused by several intervening creatures, while a -20 penalty might be caused by the target having total concealment from a source like Displacement (Spell). The GM is the final arbiter of how badly the conditions affect your check. Note that any extraordinary senses you have, such as darkvision or blindsense should be mentioned to the GM when they are assessing this penalty, as they may significantly reduce or eliminate it.
  • Specialist Wizard: If you are a specialist wizard, you get a +2 bonus on spellcraft checks made to identify, learn, and prepare spells from your chosen school. Similarly, you take a -5 penalty on similar checks made concerning spells from your opposition schools.
Take 10? / Take 20?

Yes

Allows Assists?

No

Results of Success

You successfully identify the spell or spell-like ability being cast.

Consequences of Failure

You are unable to determine what the spell or spell-like ability is.

Retry Allowed?

No

Provokes AOO?

No

Learn a Spell

You can scribe a spell into your spellbook, either from a scroll or from another spellbook. You can only learn a spell which is listed among the spells your class can learn (i.e. a wizard cannot learn divine spells).
Action Required:

1 hour per level of the spell (30 minutes for 0-level spells)

DC of Check:

15 + spell level

Modifiers to Check
  • Specialist Wizard: If you are a specialist wizard, you get a +2 bonus on spellcraft checks made to identify, learn, and prepare spells from your chosen school. Similarly, you take a -5 penalty on similar checks made concerning spells from your opposition schools.
Take 10? / Take 20?

You can take 10, but you cannot take 20.

Allows Assists?

No

Results of Success

You scribe the spell into your spellbook. It is now one of your known spells, and can be prepared as with any of your other known spells.

Consequences of Failure

You are unable to convert the spell into a formula you understand, and are able to cast. It is not copied into your spellbook, it is not a known spell for you, and you may not prepare it.

Retry Allowed?

If you fail to learn a spell from a spellbook or scroll, you must wait at least 1 week before you can try again.

Provokes AOO?

Yes. Don't try this during combat.

Prepare a Spell from a Borrowed Spellbook

You can attempt to prepare a spell from a borrowed spellbook. This is exactly like trying to prepare a spell in your own spellbook, except that there is a chance of failure. Even if you are successful in preparing the spell, the spell is not known to you, and does not count against your known spells.
Action Required:

Preparing a spell from a borrowed spellbook does not add any time to your daily spell preparation. You are assumed to spend about 1 hour each morning preparing spells, as part of your normal morning routine. You must have had a full night's rest before you can prepare new spells each day.

DC of Check:

15 + double the spell's level

Modifiers to Check
  • Specialist Wizard: If you are a specialist wizard, you get a +2 bonus on spellcraft checks made to identify, learn, and prepare spells from your chosen school. Similarly, you take a -5 penalty on similar checks made concerning spells from your opposition schools.
Take 10? / Take 20?

No

Allows Assists?

No

Results of Success

You may include the spell among your prepared spells for the day. If you wish to have it prepared multiple times (i.e. be able to cast it multiple times today), you only need a single successful check to do so. As with any prepared spells, if not used by the time you take a full night's rest, they are lost and must be prepared again.

Consequences of Failure

If you fail by 4 or less, you are unable to prepare the spell from the foreign spellbook.

If you fail by 5 or more, or roll a natural 1 on the check, the spell is cast immediately with a minimum caster level for the spell. You have just enough control over the spell to choose its target yourself (though it must be a legal target within range of the spell). The spell is erased from the foreign spell book, just as though you had used it like a scroll.

Retry Allowed?

If you fail to prepare a spell from a borrowed spellbook, you cannot try again until the next day. If the spell was erased from the spellbook, you will need to find another copy of the spell to try again.

Provokes AOO?

Yes. Preparing spells is not something you should attempt during combat.

Identify Magic Item

You can use spellcraft to identify the properties and command words (if any) of a magic item you are holding. This is identical to the Divinity, Naturalism, Reason, Spycraft, and Warfare ability to identify magic items. It is also very similar to the Barter ability, except that it is faster.

Spellcraft may also be used to assist another party member's attempt at determining the properties of a magic item, even if the other party member is using a different skill to make the check.

Action Required:

3 rounds per item you are attempting to identify

DC of Check:

10 + double the caster level of the item

Modifiers to Check

-

Take 10? / Take 20?

No

Allows Assists?

Yes (up to 5 allies).

Results of Success

Item is identified, including the command words (if any) needed to trigger its magical properties.

Consequences of Failure

Item is not identified

Retry Allowed?

You must wait 24 hours before retrying on the same item. Any attempts in the meantime always fail.

Provokes AOO?

Yes

Craft Magic Item

When combined with the Creator feat, spellcraft can be used to create magic items.

A day of crafting a magic item is 8 uninterrupted hours of work in an appropriate work space. While you can do other things during that day, you must have 8 consecutive hours in your work space for it to count towards the number of days required to make the magic item. Working fewer than 8 hours at a time fails to reduce the number of days required to finish the work – you can't work fractions of days and then add them together to create a day of work.

Days of work need not be consecutive. You can take breaks or go adventuring, then come back and keep working, and this does not harm the final product in any way, except to delay its completion date. However, if you begin working on a different magic item before the first one is finished, all work on the first one is lost, and any components used for its creation are destroyed, just as if you had failed the check.

Action Required:

2 days, +1 day per caster level of the item being created.

You can never reduce the time to create a magic item below 3 days, no matter how well you roll.

DC of Check:
  • If your skill check result is at least an Easy DC for your current level, but less than an Average DC the time required to complete the magic item is increased by 1 day OR 10%, whichever is worse.
  • If your skill check result is at least an Average DC for your current level, but less than a Challenging DC, the required time to complete the magic item is unchanged.
  • If you roll grater than or equal to a Challenging DC for your current level, but less than an Impossible DC, the required time to complete the magic item is reduced by 1 day OR 10%, whichever is better.
  • If you roll greater than or equal to an Impossible DC for your current level, the required time to complete the magic item is reduced by 3 days OR 25%, whichever is better.
Modifiers to Check

If you are attempting to create a magic item that has more than one enchantment on it, the caster level of the item is determined by taking the highest caster level of the enchantments you wish to add, and then adding +3 caster levels to that number for each additional enchantment you are adding after the first. The maximum caster level of an item is 35, and if an item's caster level is above 21, you cannot create that item until you have at least 21 ranks in your bailiwick skill.

Take 10? / Take 20?

No

Allows Assists?

Yes, but only if each assisting ally has Cooperative Crafting (Feat). Up to 5 allies with that feat may assist.

Results of Success

You create the magic item after the designated number of days.

Consequences of Failure
  • If you fail to achieve at least an Easy DC for your current level, or you roll a natural 1 on the die, the attempt fails. The components you intended to use in the item's creation are destroyed, including any monetary expenses for the item. This failure occurs on the final day of the item's creation, meaning you also lose a number of days equal to its unmodified creation time (minimum 3 days).
Retry Allowed?

Yes, though you must procure new components to replace the destroyed ones, and begin the process again. You gain a +5 circumstance bonus on each retry after a failure, as you incorporate your new knowledge of what not to do.

Provokes AOO?

Yes. Don't try this during combat.

Learn a Spell by Seeing It Cast (Epic Use)

You can attempt to learn a spell simply by seeing it cast. This is very difficult, but allows a high-level caster to become very powerful indeed. Spontaneous casters, such as Sorcerers, must have fewer known spells of this spell level than their maximum in order to learn a new spell in this way.

You must have a clear line of sight to the caster who is casting the spell you wish to learn. If the caster has any cover or concealment, in relation to you and your senses, you may not attempt this skill use.

If successful, you must still scribe the spell into your spellbook as soon as possible, lest you forget the spell.

This is an epic skill use, and requires at least 21 ranks in the skill before it may be attempted.

Action Required:

Immediate action to study the spell as it is being cast. 1 hour per spell level to scribe the spell into your spellbook, if you successfully learn it via this skill use.

DC of Check:

15 + quadruple the spell's level

Modifiers to Check

Distance: For every 10 feet between you and the caster casting the spell you are attempting to learn, the DC increases by +1. The first 10-foot increment does not inflict a penalty.

Take 10? / Take 20?

No

Allows Assists?

No

Results of Success

You are able to study the spell sufficient to scribe it into your spellbook. You must scribe the spell into your spellbook within 24 hours of a successful check, or you forget too much of the technique to record it. Scribing the spell into your spellbook follows the rules for Learning a Spell, above. You must be capable of adding a spell of this level to your known spells.

Consequences of Failure

You aren't able to catch all the nuances, components and changes in aura required to cast the spell.

Retry Allowed?

You need to witness the spell being cast again before you can retry.

Provokes AOO?

No

Cast Spell With Somatic Component While Grappled (Epic Use)

You can use spellcraft instead of a Caster Check to attempt to cast a spell with a somatic component while you are Grappled. Doing so is an expression of your will, and demonstrates a mastery of your aura that lesser casters are simply incapable of imitating.

This is an epic skill use, and requires at least 21 ranks in the skill before it may be attempted.

Action Required:

Part of the action to cast the spell (typically a standard action)

DC of Check:

10 + quadruple the spell's level

Modifiers to Check

Careful Casting: You can attempt to cast the spell without provoking attacks of opportunity by increasing the DC by +10.

Take 10? / Take 20?

No

Allows Assists?

No

Results of Success

You cast the spell successfully.

Consequences of Failure

You fail to cast the spell, and the action to cast it is wasted.

Retry Allowed?

Yes

Provokes AOO?

Yes (unless you included the careful casting modifier, above).