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I'm sure we all know about the metamagic feat Maximize Spell, which allows you to cast a spell in a slot 3 levels higher in order to "maximize all variable numeric values" like damage, number of targets, etc, but what effect does that have on spells like Prismatic Spray, whose "variable numeric values" change its effects entirely? Would the color roll default to 8, then from there to 7 and 6, or would Maximize simply not have any effect on these spells?

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up vote 25 down vote accepted

You're not correctly quoting the feat. It reads as follows:

All variable, numeric effects of a spell modified by this feat are maximized.

The key word to adjudicate this is effects. The die roll is not an effect, it's something the player does when they cast the spell. And which particular ray is chosen is not numeric -- it's a qualitative, not quantitative, effect.

20d6 + 20 damage, 1d3 summoned creatures, or a duration of 1d6 rounds would all be things that might be maximized. They're variable, numeric effects of the spell.

(And to be more accurate, I might describe it as 40-140 damage, 1–3 creatures, or 1–6 rounds; again, the die rolls are only how you determine the number.)

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Way clearer than I was. – KRyan Mar 11 '14 at 12:08
Yeah, better said. Good point there on what defines "effect". – Cobalt Mar 11 '14 at 18:31

I’d argue (though I have seen it argued oppositely) that the Maximize Spell does not maximize all rolls, just rolls used to set numerical values. The roll in a prismatic spell doesn’t set a numerical value, it picks an effect, and therefore is not affected.

Considering that you would otherwise get an infinite loop as all rolls are maximized and demand you to continue rolling twice and keeping both (and both are maximized), that’s probably for the best.

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I was under the impression you couldn't roll the same result twice, so once you hit 8, you would just have to roll two more times and re-roll any more 8's you got to combine the effects; consequently the next highest rolls you could get were 6 and 7, which if I recall correctly were Insanity and planar banishment, respectively. So you would pretty much be sending madmen to plane 100 (or 99, if 100 is re-roll) on the D% plane chart, if my theory was correct. – Cobalt Mar 11 '14 at 3:24
@Cobalt The roll is still a d8, and the maximum value on that is 8. You ignore those and have to roll again – but you still get 8. Maximize Spell does not say the maximum meaningful, legal, or reasonable value for the die roll, it says the maximum value on the die. Similarly, prismatic spells do not say you roll a d7, they say you roll a d8 and ignore 8s. – KRyan Mar 11 '14 at 3:32
Perhaps it's useful to posit other metamagic like (empower) to show if maximize makes sense? (I rolled a 10 on prismatic spray. I spray you with irrigo. – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Mar 11 '14 at 3:47

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