I've always thought that increased caster level (ex. by spell specialization) increased the effective number of scaling spells' damage dice, too.

Fireball's description: "deals 1d6 points of fire damage per caster level (maximum 10d6)". If I'm level 8 with spell specialization on fireball, how many dice should I roll, 8 or 10? I'm not sure if caster level affects dices, too.

Some DM told me it does, while others told me that it's completely wrong. Does anyone have an official source on this?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Are you asking about just Fireball specifically, or about all spells? \$\endgroup\$ Jun 19, 2017 at 11:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ Fireball or any other scaling spell without any additional effects @ certain CL \$\endgroup\$ Jun 19, 2017 at 11:16

2 Answers 2


The benefit of the feat Spell Specialization, in part, says, "Treat your caster level as being two higher for all level-variable effects of the spell." One of the level-variable effects of the spell fireball (and many others spells like lightning bolt, polar ray, and even disintegrate) is its damage, so this GM would rule that a level 8 caster that takes the feat Spell Specialization (fireball) typically rolls 10d6 points of damage for his fireball spells and increase the spell's range.

Unlike a general increase in caster level like from an ioun stone (orange prism), this GM wouldn't allow the feat Spell Specialization (fireball) to help the possessor's chances of, for example, his fireball spells overcoming spell resistance, as that's a function of caster level not the spell.

However, the feat's unmentioned by the Ultimate Magic FAQ. Further, the term level-variable is unique to the feat Spell Specialization, and creative director James Jacobs even dodges a question about what the term means in this 2014 Paizo message board post. With the mystery surrounding the term, it's unsurprising that different GMs read the feat's effects in different ways.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I see. I guess this applies to any other trait/feat that increases CL, what a shame \$\endgroup\$ Jun 19, 2017 at 12:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @GPathwarden You mean the caster level thing? That's only for the Spell Specialization feat alone because of it's goofy unique level-variable language and that'd be just my ruling on it. The phrase is enormously unclear—your best bet is to ask the GM and have a backup feat picked in case things don't work out in your favor. (Alternatively, ask for an official ruling on the Pathfinder Society messageboards if that's your pickup game jam.) \$\endgroup\$ Jun 19, 2017 at 12:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ There are some magical items that increase caster level for certain spells, and while those are much more clear, I'm still not sure about the scaled dices. Some PFS masters told me that it's correct, and that increased CL spells should use more dices if they scale, while others told me that it's not correct. I don't really know \$\endgroup\$ Jun 19, 2017 at 12:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @GPathwarden What remains unclear? For many spells, dice of damage = caster level (within limits). Things that increase caster level = more damage dice (within limits). What do GMs tell you happens instead? \$\endgroup\$ Jun 19, 2017 at 12:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ Let's say that I have a magic robe that increases my fire spells' CL and I try to cast our dear fireball: the dmg dice should become my base caster lvl + the robe's bonus, correct? Some PFS GM told me that the increase applies only for extra effects modifiers (like extra rays every n levels for some ray spells, for example) \$\endgroup\$ Jun 19, 2017 at 13:14

Often, but not always.

If the spell has variables based on the caster level, then those variables are also increased if your caster level increases (or decreases).

From the SRD:

Caster Level

A spell’s power often depends on its caster level, which for most spellcasting characters is equal to her class level in the class she’s using to cast the spell.

You can cast a spell at a lower caster level than normal, but the caster level you choose must be high enough for you to cast the spell in question, and all level-dependent features must be based on the same caster level.

In the event that a class feature or other special ability provides an adjustment to your caster level, that adjustment applies not only to effects based on caster level (such as range, duration, and damage dealt), but also to your caster level check to overcome your target’s spell resistance and to the caster level used in dispel checks (both the dispel check and the DC of the check).

So if your caster level for a spell is increased, everything that is based on caster level also increases, including range, duration and damage dice. The description of Spell Specialization is specific and does mention that all variables are increased, so there is no reason to think the damage shouldn't be increased aswell.

Treat your caster level as being two higher for all level-variable effects of the spell.

However, some spells have their damage dice fixed (like Flaming Sphere), and as such, their damage is not increased by your caster level.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you, I meant scaling spells only, like fireball. Edited my question. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 19, 2017 at 12:04

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .