3e SRD:Spell Descriptions
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Each spell description follows the same format. This section discusses that format and some of the fine points of how spells work.
This is the name by which the spell is generally known.
School, Subschool, and Descriptors
This is the school to which the spell belongs. "Universal" refers to a spell that belongs to no school. If the spell is a subtype within a school, the subschool is given here (in parentheses).
Any descriptors that apply are given here [in brackets].
Schools of Magic
Almost every spell belongs to one of eight schools of magic. A school of magic is a group of related spells that work in similar ways. A small number of spells are universal, belonging to no school.
The Eight Schools of Magic: Abjuration, Conjuration, Divination, Enchantment, Evocation, Illusion, Necromancy, and Transmutation.
Subschools: Conjuration: creation, healing, and summoning; Enchantment: charm and compulsion; Illusion: figment, glamer, pattern, phantasm, and shadow.
Abjurations are protective spells. They create physical or magical barriers, negate magical or physical abilities, harm trespassers, or even banish the subject to another plane of existence.
If more than one abjuration spell is active within 10 feet of another for 24 hours or more, the magical fields interfere with each other and create barely visible energy fluctuations. The DC to find such spells with the Search skill drops by 4.
If an abjuration creates a barrier that keeps certain types of creatures at bay, the barrier cannot be used to push away those creatures. If the character forces the barrier against such a creature, the character feels a discernible pressure against the barrier. If the character continues to apply pressure, the character breaks the spell.
Conjurations bring manifestations of objects, creatures, or some form of energy to the character (summoning), actually transport creatures from another plane of existence to the character's plane (calling), heal (healing), or create such objects or effects on the spot (creation). Creatures the character conjures usually, but not always, obey the character's commands.
A creature or object brought into being or transported to the character's location by a conjuration spell cannot appear inside another creature or object, nor can it appear floating in an empty space. It must arrive in an open location on a surface capable of supporting it. The creature or object must appear within the spell's range, but it does not have to remain within the range.
The spell fully transports a creature from another plane to the plane the character is on. The spell grants the creature the one-time ability to return to its plane of origin, although the spell may limit the circumstances under which this is possible. Creatures who are called actually die when they are killed; they do not disappear and reform, as do those brought by a summoning spell (see below). The duration of a calling spell is instantaneous, which means that the called creature can't be dispelled.
Spells that call powerful extraplanar creatures are most useful when the conjurer has a magical trap to hold the summoned creature. The simplest type of trap is a magic circle spell (magic circle against chaos, magic circle against evil, etc.). When focused inward, a magic circle spell binds a called creature for a maximum of 24 hours per caster level, provided that the character casts the spell that calls the creature within 1 round of casting the magic circle. However, if the circle laid down in the process of spellcasting is broken, the effect immediately ends. The trapped creature can do nothing that disturbs the circle, directly or indirectly, but other creatures can. If the called creature has spell resistance, it can test the trap once a day. If the character fails to overcome the spell resistance, the creature breaks free, destroying the circle. A creature capable of any form of dimensional travel can simply leave the circle through that means. The character can prevent the creature's extradimensional escape by casting a dimensional anchor spell on it, but the character must cast the spell before the creature acts. If successful, the anchor effect lasts as long as the magic circle does. The creature cannot reach across the magic circle, but its ranged attacks (ranged weapons, spells, magical abilities, etc.) can. The creature can attack any target it can reach with its ranged attacks except for the circle itself.
The character can use a special diagram to make the trap more secure. Drawing the diagram by hand takes 10 minutes and requires a Spellcraft check (DC 20). The DM makes this check secretly. If the check fails, the diagram is ineffective. The character can take 10 when drawing the diagram if the character is under no particular time pressure to complete the task. This also takes 10 full minutes. If time is no factor at all, and the character devotes 3 hours and 20 minutes to the task, the character can take 20. A successful diagram allows the character to cast a dimensional anchor spell on the trap during the round before casting any summoning spell. The anchor holds any called creatures in the diagram for 24 hours per caster level. A creature cannot use its spell resistance against a trap prepared with a diagram, and none of its abilities or attacks can cross the diagram. If the creature tries a Charisma check to break free of the trap, the DC increases by 5. The creature is immediately released if anything disturbs the diagram—even a straw laid across it. However, the creature cannot disturb the diagram itself either directly or indirectly, as noted above.
The spell manipulates matter to create an object or creature in the place the spellcaster designates (subject to the limits noted above for conjurations). If the spell has a duration other than instantaneous, magic holds the creation together, and when the spell ends or is dispelled, the conjured creature or object vanishes without a trace. If the spell has an instantaneous duration, the created object or creature is merely assembled through magic. It lasts indefinitely and does not depend on magic for its existence.
Certain divine conjurations heal creatures or even bring them back to life. These include cure spells, which good clerics can cast spontaneously.
The spell instantly brings a creature or object to a place the character designates. When the spell ends or is dispelled, a summoned creature is instantly sent back to where it came from, but a summoned object is not sent back unless the spell description specifically indicates this. A summoned creature also goes away if it is killed or dropped to 0 hit points. It is not really dead. It takes 24 hours for the creature to reform, during which time it can't be summoned again.
When the spell that summoned a creature ends and the creature disappears, all the spells it has cast end (if they haven't already). A summoned creature cannot use any innate summoning abilities it may have, and it refuses to cast any spells or use any spell-like abilities that would cost it XP.
Divination spells enable the character to learn secrets long forgotten, to predict the future, to find hidden things, and to foil deceptive spells.
Many divination spells have cone-shaped areas. These move with the character and extend in the direction the character looks. The cone defines the area that the character can sweep each round. If the character studies the same area for multiple rounds, the character can often gain additional information, as noted in the descriptive text for the spell.
Enchantment spells affect the minds of others, influencing or controlling their behavior.
All enchantments are mind-affecting spells. Two types of enchantment spells grant the character influence over a subject creature:
The spell changes the way the subject views the character, typically making the subject sees the character as a good friend.
The spell forces the subject to act in some manner or changes the way her mind works. Some spells determine the subject's actions (or the effects on the subject), some allow the character to determine the subject's actions when the character casts the spell, and others give the character ongoing control over the subject.
Evocation spells manipulate energy or tap an unseen source of power to produce a desired end. In effect, they create something out of nothing. Many of these spells produce spectacular effects, and evocation spells can deal large amounts of damage.
Illusion spells deceive the senses or minds of others. They cause people to see things that are not there, not see things that are there, hear phantom noises, or remember things that never happened. Illusions come in five types: figments, glamers, patterns, phantasms, and shadows.
Saving Throws and Illusions (Disbelief)
Creatures encountering an illusion effect usually do not receive saving throws to recognize it as illusory until they study it carefully or interact with it in some fashion.
A successful saving throw against an illusion reveals it to be false, but a figment or phantasm remains as a translucent outline.
A failed saving throw indicates that a character fails to notice something is amiss. A character faced with incontrovertible proof that an illusion isn't real needs no saving throw. If any viewer successfully disbelieves an illusion and communicates this fact to other viewers, each such viewer gains a saving throw with a +4 bonus.
A figment spell creates a false sensation. Those who perceive the figment perceive the same thing, not their own slightly different versions of the figment. (It is not a personalized mental impression.) Figments cannot make something seem to be something else. A figment that includes audible effects cannot duplicate intelligible speech unless the spell description specifically says it can. If intelligible speech is possible, it must be in a language the character can speak. If the character tries to duplicate a language the character cannot speak, the image produces gibberish. Likewise, the character cannot make a visual copy of something unless the character knows what it looks like.
Because figments and glamers (see below) are unreal, they cannot produce real effects the way that other types of illusions can. They cannot cause damage to objects or creatures, support weight, provide nutrition, illuminate darkness, or provide protection from the elements. Consequently, these spells are useful for confounding or delaying foes, but useless for attacking them directly.
A glamer spell changes a subject's sensory qualities, making it look, feel, taste, smell, or sound like something else, or even seem to disappear.
Like a figment, a pattern spell creates an image that others can see, but a pattern also affects the minds of those who see it or are caught in it. All patterns are mind-affecting spells.
A phantasm spell creates a mental image that usually only the caster and the subject (or subjects) of the spell can perceive. This impression is totally in the minds of the subjects. It is a personalized mental impression. (It's all in their heads and not a fake picture or something that they actually see.) Third parties viewing or studying the scene don't notice the phantasm at all. All phantasms are mind-affecting spells.
A shadow spell creates something that is partially real (quasi-real). The caster weaves it from extradimensional energies. Such illusions can have real effects. If a creature takes damage from a shadow illusion, that damage is real.
Necromancy spells manipulate the power of death. Spells involving undead creatures make up a large part of this school.
Transmutation spells change the properties of some creature, thing, or condition. A transmutation usually changes only one property at a time, but it can be any property.
Some spells have descriptors indicating something about how the spell functions. Most of these descriptors have no game effect by themselves, but they govern how the spell interacts with other spells, with special abilities, with unusual creatures, with alignment, and so on.
The descriptors are acid, chaotic, cold, darkness, death, electricity, evil, fear, fire, force, good, language-dependent, lawful, light, mind-affecting, sonic, and teleportation.
A language-dependent spell uses intelligible language as a medium. The spell fails if the target cannot understand the language being spoken by the caster.
This is the relative power level of the spell. This entry includes an abbreviation for each class that can cast this spell. The "Level" entry also indicates if a spell is a domain spell and, if so, what its level is.
Class Abbreviations: Brd (bard), Clr (cleric), Drd (druid), Pal (paladin), Rgr (ranger), Sor (sorcerer), Wiz (wizard).
Domains: Air, Animal, Chaos, Death, Destruction, Earth, Evil, Fire, Good, Healing, Knowledge, Law, Luck, Magic, Plant, Protection, Strength, Sun, Travel, Trickery, War, and Water.
Aspects of a spell casting description; including Verbal (spoken), Somatic (motions or gestures), Material (various physical ingredients), Focus (a specific object of power) and Divine Focus (a specific object of religious significance).
This entry indicates what the character must have or do to cast the spell. If the necessary components are not present, the casting fails. Spells can have verbal (V), somatic (S), material (M), focus (F), divine focus (DF), or experience point cost (XP) components, or any combination thereof.
If the material component, focus or define focus has an GP cost, the cost is listed; otherwise the character can assume that the actual materials involved are at the discretion of the caster and have no significant monetary value.
Material components are always consumed during the casting of a spell; a focus or divine focus is not. If a special focus or divine focus is required, it will be unique to the spell and cannot be used as the focus for other spells.
A spell's Components line includes abbreviations that tell the character what type of components it has. Specifics for material, focus, and XP components are given at the end of the descriptive text. Usually the character doesn't worry about components, but when the character can't use a component for some reason or when a material or focus component is expensive, then they count.
A verbal component is a spoken incantation. To provide a verbal component, the character must be able to speak in a strong voice. A silence spell or a gag spoils the incantation (and thus the spell). A spellcaster who has been deafened has a 20% chance to spoil any spell he tries to cast if that spell has a verbal component.
A somatic component is a measured and precise movement of the hand or some other part of the body. The character must have at least one hand free to provide a somatic component.
A material component is a physical substance or object that is annihilated by the spell energies in the casting process. Unless a cost is given for a material component, the cost is negligible. Assume the character has all components (of negligible cost) needed as long as the character has a spell component pouch.
A focus component is a prop of some sort. Unlike a material component, a focus is not consumed when the spell is cast and can be reused. As with material components, the cost for a focus is negligible unless a specific price is listed. Assume that focus components of negligible cost are in the character's spell component pouch.
DF (Divine Focus)
A divine focus component is an item of spiritual significance. The divine focus for a cleric or a paladin is a holy symbol appropriate to the character's faith. For an evil cleric, the divine focus is an unholy symbol. The default divine focus for a druid or a ranger is a sprig of mistletoe or some holly.
If the Components line includes F/DF or M/DF, the arcane version of the spell has a focus component or a material component and the divine version has a divine focus component.
XP (XP Cost)
Some powerful spells entail an experience point (XP) cost to the character. No spell can restore the lost XP. The character cannot spend so much XP that the character loses a level, so the character cannot cast the spell unless the character has enough XP to spare. However, the character may, on gaining enough XP to attain a new level, use the XP for casting a spell rather than keeping the XP and advancing a level. The XP are treated just like a material component—expended when the character casts the spell, whether or not the casting succeeds.
The time required to cast a spell.
The character can cast a spell with a casting time of 1 action as a standard action.
A spell that takes 1 full round to cast is a full-round action. It comes into effect just before the beginning of the character's turn in the round after the character began casting the spell. The character then acts normally after the spell is completed. A spell that takes 1 minute to cast comes into effect just before the character's turn 1 minute later (and for each of those 10 rounds, the character is casting a spell as a full-round action).
The character must make all pertinent decisions about a spell (range, target, area, effect, version, etc.) when the character begins casting.
The maximum distance from the character at which the spell can affect a target.
A spell's range indicates how far from the character it can reach, as defined on the Range line of the spell description. A spell's range is the maximum distance from the character that the spell's effect can occur, as well as the maximum distance at which the character can designate the spell's point of origin. If any portion of the spell's area would extend beyond the range, that area is wasted. Standard ranges include:
The spell affects only the character.
The character must touch a creature or object to affect it.
The spell can reach up to 25 feet away from the character. The maximum range increases by 5 feet for every two full caster levels.
The spell can reach up to 100 feet + 10 feet per caster level.
The spell can reach up to 400 feet + 40 feet per caster level.
The spell can reach anywhere on the same plane of existence.
Range Expressed in Feet
Some spells have no standard range category, just a range expressed in feet.
Aiming a Spell
Target or Targets/Effect/Area: This entry lists the number of creatures, dimensions, volume, weight, and so on, that the spell affects. The entry starts with one of three headings: "Target," "Effect," or "Area." If the target of a spell is "the character," the character does not receive a saving throw, and spell resistance does not apply. The saving throw and spell resistance headings are omitted from such spells.
The character must make some choice about whom the spell is to affect or where the effect is to originate, depending on the type of spell.
Target or Targets
Some spells have a target or targets. The character casts these spells directly on creatures or objects, as defined by the spell itself. The character must be able to see or touch the target, and the character must specifically choose that target. However, the character does not have to select the character's target until the moment the character finishes casting the spell.
If the character casts a targeted spell on the wrong sort of target the spell has no effect.
If the target of a spell is the character ("Target: the character"), the character does not receive a saving throw, and spell resistance does not apply. The Saving Throw and Spell Resistance lines are omitted from such spells.
Some spells create or summon things rather than affecting things that are already present. The character must designate the location where these things are to appear, either by seeing it or defining it. Range determines how far away an effect can appear, but if the effect is mobile it can move regardless of the spell's range.
Some effects are rays. The character aims a ray as if using a ranged weapon, though typically the character makes a ranged touch attack rather than a normal ranged attack. As with a ranged weapon, the character can fire into the dark or at an invisible creature and hope to hit something. The character doesn't have to see the creature he or she is trying to hit, as the character does with a targeted spell. Intervening creatures and obstacles, however, can block the character's line of sight or provide cover for the creature the character is aiming at.
If a ray spell has a duration, it is the duration of the effect that the ray causes, not the length of time the ray itself persists.
Some effects spread out from a point of origin to a distance described in the spell. The effect can extend around corners and into areas that the character can't see. Figure distance by actual distance traveled, taking into account turns the spell effect takes.
The character must designate the point of origin for such an effect but need not have line of effect to all portions of the effect.
Some spells affect an area. The character selects where the spell starts, but otherwise the character doesn't control which creatures or objects the spell affects. Sometimes a spell describes a specially defined area, but usually an area falls into one of the categories below.
Burst, Emanation, or Spread
As with an effect, the character selects the spell's point of origin. The spell bursts out from this point, affecting whatever it catches in its area. A burst spell has a radius that indicates how far from the point of origin the spell's effect extends.
Some spells have an area like a burst except that the effect continues to radiate from the point of origin for the duration of the spell.
Some spells spread out like a burst but can turn corners. The character selects the point of origin, and the spell spreads out a given distance in all directions. Figure distance by actual distance traveled, taking into account turns the spell effect takes.
Cone, Cylinder, or Line
When the character casts a spell with a cone area, the cone shoots away from the character in the direction the character designates. A cone starts as a point directly before the character, and it widens out as it goes. A cone's width at a given distance from the character equals that distance. Its far end is as wide as the effect is long.
As with a burst, the character selects the spell's point of origin. This point is the center of a horizontal circle, and the spell shoots down from the circle, filling a cylinder.
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 it's not blocked by fog, darkness, and other factors that limit normal sight.
The character must have a clear line of effect to any target that the character casts a spell on or to any space in which the character wishes to create an effect. The character must have a clear line of effect to the point of origin of any spell the character casts. For bursts, cones, cylinders, and emanating spells, the spell only affects areas, creatures, or objects to which it has line of effect from its origin (a burst's point, a cone's starting point, a cylinder's circle, or an emanating spell's point of origin).
An otherwise solid barrier with a hole of at least 1 square foot through it does not block a spell's line of effect.
Such an opening makes a 5-foot length of wall no longer considered a barrier for purposes of a spell's line of effect (though the rest of the wall farther from the hole can still block the spell).
Some spells affect creatures directly, but they affect creatures in an area of some kind rather than individual creatures the character selects. The area might be a burst, a cone, or some other shape.
Many spells affect "living creatures," which means all creatures other than constructs and undead. If a spell has a limited amount of targets it can affect, it will ignore those that it cannot affect.
Some spells affect objects within an area the character selects.
A spell can have a unique area, as defined in its description.
If an Area or Effect entry ends with "(S)," the character can shape the spell. A shaped effect or area can have no dimension smaller than 10 feet. Many effects or areas are given as cubes to make it easy to model irregular shapes. Three-dimensional volumes are most often needed to define aerial or underwater effects and areas.
How long the spell lasts.
A spell's Duration line tells the character how long the magical energy of the spell lasts.
Many durations are measured in rounds, minutes, hours, or some other increment. When the time is up, the magic goes away and the spell ends. If a spell's duration is variable the DM rolls it secretly.
The spell energy comes and goes the instant the spell is cast, though the consequences of the spell might be long-lasting.
The energy remains as long as the effect does. This means the spell is vulnerable to dispel magic.
The spell lasts as long as the character concentrates on it. Concentrating to maintain a spell is a standard action that doesn't provoke attacks of opportunity.
Anything that could break the character's concentration when casting a spell can also break the character's concentration while the character is maintaining one, causing the spell to end (see Concentration, below). The character can't cast a spell while concentrating on another one. Sometimes a spell lasts for a short time after the character ceases concentrating. In these cases, the spell keeps going for the stated length of time after the character stops concentrating. Otherwise, the character must concentrate to maintain the spell, but the character can't maintain it for more than a stated duration in any event.
Subjects, Effects, and Areas
If the spell affects creatures directly, the result travels with the subjects for the spell's duration. If the spell creates an effect, the effect lasts for the duration. The effect might move or remain still. Such effects can be destroyed prior to when their durations end. If the spell affects an area, then the spell stays with that area for the spell's duration. Creatures become subject to the spell when they enter the area and become no longer subject to it when they leave.
Touch Spells and Holding the Charge
If the character doesn't discharge a touch spell on the round the character casts the spell, the character can hold the discharge of the spell (hold the charge) indefinitely.
The character can make touch attacks round after round. The character can touch one friend (or the character can touch his or her self) as a standard action or up to six friends as a full-round action. If the character touches anything with the character's hand while holding a charge, the spell discharges. If the character casts another spell, the touch spell dissipates.
A few spells last for a set duration or until triggered or discharged.
If the Duration line ends with "(D)," the character can dismiss the spell at will. The character 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, the character dismisses the spell 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 require an action (since all the character has to do to end the spell is to stop concentrating).
Whether a spell allows a saving throw, what type of saving throw it is, and the effect of a successful save.
Most harmful spells allow an affected creature to make a saving throw to avoid some or all of the effect. The Saving Throw line in a spell description defines which type of saving throw the spell allows and describes how saving throws against the spell work.
This term means that the spell has no effect on an affected creature that makes a successful saving throw.
The spell causes an effect on its subject. A successful saving throw means that some lesser effect.
The spell deals damage, and a successful saving throw halves the damage taken (round down).
No saving throw is allowed.
A successful save lets the subject ignore the effect.
The spell can be cast on objects, which receive saving throws only if they are magical or if they are attended (held, worn, grasped, etc.) by a creature resisting the spell, in which case the object gets the creature's saving throw bonus unless its own bonus is greater. (This notation does not mean that a spell can only be cast on objects. Some spells of this sort can be cast on creatures or objects.) A magic item's saving throw bonuses are each equal to 2 + one-half its caster level.
The spell is usually beneficial, not harmful, but a targeted creature can attempt a saving throw if it wishes.
Saving Throw Difficulty Class
A saving throw against the character's spell has a DC of 10 + the level of the spell + the character's bonus for the relevant ability. A spell's level can vary depending on the character's class. Always use the spell level applicable to the character's class.
Succeeding at a Saving Throw
A creature that successfully saves against a spell without obvious physical effects feels a hostile force or a tingle, but cannot deduce the exact nature of the attack. Likewise, if a creature's saving throw succeeds against a targeted spell, the character senses that the spell has failed. The character does not sense when creatures succeed at saving throws against effect and area spells.
Voluntarily Giving Up a Saving Throw
A creature can voluntarily forego a saving throw and willingly accept a spell's result. Even a character with a special resistance to magic can suppress this if he or she wants to.
Items Surviving after a Saving Throw
Unless the descriptive text for the spell specifies otherwise, all items carried and worn are assumed to survive a magical attack. If a character rolls a natural 1 on his saving throw, however, an exposed item is harmed (if the attack can harm objects). The four items nearest the top on Table: Items Affected by Magical Attacks are the most likely to be struck. Determine which four objects are most likely to be struck and roll randomly among them. The randomly determined item must make a saving throw against the attack form and take whatever damage the attack deals.
If an item is not carried or worn and is not magical, it does not get a saving throw. It simply is dealt the appropriate damage.
|4th||Item in hand (including weapon, wand, etc.)|
|6th||Stowed or sheathed weapon|
|9th||Magic jewelry (including rings)|
*In order of most likely to least likely to be affected.
A special ability that may negate the effect of certain spells when cast on characters with Spell Resistance.
Whether spell resistance (SR), a special defensive ability, resists this spell.
Spell resistance is a special defensive ability. If the character's spell is being resisted by a creature with spell resistance, the character must make a caster level check (1d20 + caster level) at least equal to the creature's spell resistance rating for the spell to affect that creature.
The defender's spell resistance rating is like an AC against magical attacks.
The Spell Resistance line and descriptive text of a spell tell the character if spell resistance protects creatures from it. In many cases, SR 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 as for saving throws. A creature with spell resistance must voluntarily drop the resistance in order to receive the effects of a spell noted as Harmless without the caster level check described above.
This portion of the spell description details what the spell does and how it works.