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My group is new to table top RPGs, and one thing we haven't figured out is Spell DC.

One player was a cleric, and channel energy does force the undead monsters to make a saving throw, but I don't think that is Spell DC. So what is Spell DC, and what does it do? Does it mean the enemy can do a saving throw against the DC to determine whether the spell hits? If that's the case, does melee or ranged attacks have a similar DC?

I did a simple search that told me Spell DC is calculated by spell level + 1/2 class level + WIS for cleric or INT for wizard. Is that right?

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No, there is not DC for melee/ranged attacks. Generally, each attack/spell gets one d20 roll. Either by the attacker to hit a target number (melee, range, & touch attacks/spells) or the defender to resist the effects of the attack (saving throws against spells and abilities). –  Colin D Jun 6 '13 at 17:23
    
Welcome to RPG.SE! Good question! I fixed some of your formatting (line breaks not showing) and removed Pathfinder from the title, since putting it in the tags is good enough. –  dlras2 Jun 6 '13 at 17:59
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2 Answers

You see spell DC on spells that do not have an attack roll. These spells usually automatically hit, but give the target a chance to overcome some or all of the spells effects by making a Saving throw. The DC of the spell is the target number for the saving throw.

To calculate the Spell DC:

10 + spell level + ability modifier (Wizards use INT, Clerics use WIS)

Spell dc also differs from the DC related to ex (Extradinary) and su (supernatual) abilities. One such ability is the Cleric's channel energy ability. To calculate the DC for these abilities use the formula:

10 + 1/2 level + ability modifier

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It should be noted that the Spell DC is only relevant for spells that have a Saving Throw. This will be in the stat block for the spell. See d20pfsrd.com/magic#TOC-Saving-Throw –  TREE Jun 6 '13 at 19:53
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DC stands for difficulty check. Anytime your character performs an action that doesn't have a guaranteed success, you need to check (usually skill) for success. The result of the check has to be equal to or greater than the DC of the action being performed to succeed.

The calculation for a spell is 10 + spell level + ability modifier. To clarify for spell use - This is what establishes the DC for the save of the spell. This is what the target of the spell has to meet or exceed to qualify for any saves (Such as half damage or similar).

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I'd just add: in relation to this question, not only your character, any character, and not just checks (saves are not checks) –  kravaros Jun 6 '13 at 18:06
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