There is a spell called Surmount Affliction that I am struggling to understand. The spell says it can be used to "temporarily overcome ... blinded, confused, dazed, dazzled, deafened, fatigued, frightened, paralyzed, shaken, or sickened" (emphasis mine). The spell is personal meaning you can only cast it on yourself, and the components are V,S meaning it has a verbal and somatic component and takes a standard action to cast.

The question is this, how do you cast a verbal and somatic spell as a standard action to overcome paralysis on yourself while paralyzed? The use of "overcome" as well as the short duration (1 round per level) imply that it is counteracting a condition you already have rather than preventing a new one, but if that is the case, how do you cast it? If you can't cast it, then why even mention paralysis as an option?

Initially, I had thought that maybe it can work as a potion that your force feed to someone, but then I realized that "spells with a range of personal cannot be made into potions".

(As a note, some of the other conditions listed would also prevent casting, but I am focusing on paralysis since it is the most egregious.)


You can cast a spell with a range of personal on a Familiar, in addition to being able to cast it on others via a handful of specific special tricks. Additionally, the spell can be prepared with Silent Spell and/or Still Spell to remove the Verbal and Somatic components, respectively. Furthermore, certain contingency-like spells, such as Talismanic Implement, provide a method for the spell to activate later after being cast now.

Furthermore, while the spell does possess a very short duration, you may be able to cast it preemptively, depending on your GM. While the spell does say you overcome the effects of a condition, it may be possible for you to suppress the effects even of conditions you are not currently subject to. I think the most natural reading is the one you suggest, preventing preventative usage, because the language all seems to be referring to a condition you currently possess. Nonetheless, others may interpret differently, and from a game balance perspective allowing preventative usage makes more sense.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ That seems unusual to me. There are many spells where you need to "prep ahead" in terms of getting things like material components, but I can't think of any others where you have to "hack" the spell with feats in order to use it for one of the normal uses listed in the spell description. \$\endgroup\$ – Barker Jun 9 '17 at 14:09

You can still cast spells while paralyzed

The description of the paralyzed condition says you can take mental actions:


A paralyzed character is frozen in place and unable to move or act. A paralyzed character has effective Dexterity and Strength scores of 0 and is helpless, but can take purely mental actions.

Any spell without somatic, without verbal and without material components are purely mental and should be able to cast while paralyzed. For Surmount Affliction, that means casting it as a 4th level spell instead of 2nd if you remove both Somatic and Vocal components via the relevant feats.

Also, the spell has a duration in rounds/level, meaning you can cast it before getting paralyzed and overcome the effects for the duration of the spell.

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    \$\begingroup\$ If you can cast it before hand so it has similar mechanics to Delay Poison why do they use such different language and duration than Delay Poison? Also, if you are casting as a preventative, do you have to select the condition at the time of casting? \$\endgroup\$ – Barker Jun 8 '17 at 21:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Baker yes you have to select a condition when the spell is cast. \$\endgroup\$ – ShadowKras Jun 8 '17 at 21:45

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