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Ghoul touch states 'Fortitude negates' in the main stat-section. In the text nothing is said about that, except that targets that enter the area of the ghoul stench have a saving throw against the effects of the stench. Does that mean the main target is affected by the paralysis as long the touch attack hits, or does it have a saving throw in addition?

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I believe the main effect gets a save. IIRC if only additional effects got the save, the 'saving throw' section would say 'partial' or 'see text'. – Colin D Oct 5 '12 at 20:53
Mmm, usually requiring a melee touch attack is in place of a save for many spells. It's ambiguous. – mxyzplk Oct 5 '12 at 20:58
@mxyzplk good point! 2 rolls to see if one attack is successful seems wrong. – Colin D Oct 5 '12 at 21:02
@mxyzplk - But usually the stat block would say in that case "Fortitude Partial - see text". (Take chill touch - - as an example) You're absolutely right though, melee touch usually takes the place of a save. – Cthos Oct 5 '12 at 21:12
No, "partial" means for degraded effect, in Chill Touch you take the damage anyway just save for the STR damage. In any event (save for the paralysis or not) Ghoul Touch would not say "partial" because there's nothing that happens if you make. – mxyzplk Oct 5 '12 at 22:55


I read the rules as you need to hit with both a touch attack and the target must fail his saving throw for the spell to have an effect. The mother of all basic touch attack spells, the Cure/Inflict Wounds school of spells, requires a touch attack and a save. Ghoul Touch has two effects, the first of which being Paralysis. Paralysis is a very harsh effect, and since you can keep a touch spell "on hand" until you touch, the saving throw is the only chance a defending creature has to not get taken out of the fight.

Blindness-Deafness is an example of a spell that does not say in its description that there is a saving throw against the effects, because it says on the saving throw line that fortitude negates the effect. To say so again is not necessary. This is relevant to the Ghoul Touch spell because, like Blindness-Deafness, it says once that the spell effect is negated by a fortitude save, and only differs in that it has a secondary effect (the sickening effect). It is this second effect that is clarified by the spells description as also being negated by a saving throw.

A character who has been touched with the touch attack must make a save. If he fails, he is paralyzed for 1d6+2 rounds, and every living creature within 10' is repelled by the stench and must make another save.

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Yes, this. The PFSRD is really quite explicit about this: "Negates: The spell has no effect on a subject that makes a successful saving throw." – SevenSidedDie Oct 6 '12 at 0:00
Nope. Blindness/deafness is also a third level permanent spell with a single effect. See web, a second level spell and thus on par with ghoul touch. I agree that 1d6+2 rounds paralysis is strong, but the condition from sicken is only -2 to a bunch of rolls. Most angels can accomplish better just by being irritated, and in a wider area. Cure/inflict is partial effect from a fort, which is how I've always interpreted chill touch and 3-8 rounds paralysis isn't too much for a second level touch. – LitheOhm Oct 6 '12 at 7:56
Exactly. Hit with touch to apply spell, save vs spell effect (fort negates). If spell is applied, secondary effect (sickened) also has a fort save. – Tyri Oct 6 '12 at 12:01


Ghoul touch is worded kind of strangely, compared to other similar spells, one thing is clear: If a spell allows a save, then that spell describes exactly what that save means in it's description. The only mention of a fortitude save in the spell's description is in relation to the stench. Since the spell doesn't say that the target gets a save against the paralysis, they don't.

In response to Cthos's comment on the question: Chill touch has "Fortitude Partial" because the target takes one effect no matter what, and a secondary effect if they fail a save. Ghoul touch is "Fortitude Negates" because the main target takes the effect no matter what, but secondary targets get a save to negate. The difference is that any one target either takes the full effect targeting them, or takes nothing.

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+1 Also noteworthy is that chill touch is a level lower. This is closer compared with web and touch of idiocy. For a second level spell, a sorceror/wizard who can get in a touch spell without being smacked deserves the foe being paralyzed in any traditional case. – LitheOhm Oct 6 '12 at 7:51

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