In reviewing the feat "maximize spell like ability" I noted something odd.

The feat reads

Choose one of your spell-like abilities (subject to the restrictions below) to use at maximum effectiveness up to three times per day (or the ability's normal use limit, whichever is less). All variable, numeric effects of the spelllike ability are maximized, dealing maximum damage, curing the maximum number of hit points, affecting the maximum number of targets, and so on. For example, a 10th-level warlock's maximized eldritch blast deals 36 points of damage three times per day. Saving throws and opposed checks (such as the one you make when you cast dispel magic) are not affected, nor are spell-like abilities without random variables.

The spell-like ability you wish to maximize can be chosen only from those abilities that duplicate a spell of a level less than or equal to 1/2 your caster level (round down), minus 2. For a summary, see the Caster Level to Empower column in the table on page 304 of the Monster Manual.

In regards to empower, it reads as follows:

The creature can use one of its spell-like abilities as an empowered spell-like ability three times per day (or less, if the ability is normally usable only once or twice per day). When a creature uses an empowered spell-like ability, all variable, numeric effects of the spell-like ability are increased by one-half. An empowered spell-like ability does half again as much damage as normal, cures half again as many hit points, affects half again as many targets, and so on as appropriate. For example, a phoelarch's empowered scorching ray deals 1-1/2 times normal damage (roll 4d6 and multiply the result by 1-1/2 for each ray). Saving throws and opposed rolls (such as the one made when a character casts dispel magic) are not affected. Spell-like abilities without random variables are not affected. The creature can only select a spell-like ability duplicating a spell with a level less than or equal to half its caster level (round down) -2. For a summary, see the table in the description of the Quicken Spell-Like Ability feat on the next page. For example, a creature that uses its spell-like abilities as a 13th-level caster can only empower spell-like abilities duplicating spells of 4th level or lower.

A 10th level warlock normally deals 5d6 point of damage with the eldritch blast ability.

This made me think ok I must be missing something, maybe what I am missing is in reference to the The creature can only select a spell-like ability duplicating a spell with a level less than or equal to half its caster level (round down) -2. segment

If I take 10 (lvl) /2 = 5 - 2 =3 A third level warlock deals 2d6 with an eldritch blast not 3d6...

What am I missing?


1 Answer 1


Yes, the example is wrong—but your understanding of the feat, assuming I understand you correctly, is even more wrong.

The section you quote says you can select spell-like abilities that have an effective spell level of \$\lfloor\frac{CL}{2}\rfloor-2\$ or less. At 10th level (assuming CL 10th, i.e. no bonuses), that is spell-like abilities with an effective spell level of 3rd or less.

The effective spell level of eldritch blast is 1st, at least until you start modifying it with eldritch essence. Since 1st is less than 3rd, you are allowed to select eldritch blast for Maximize Spell-like Ability.

But this has absolutely no effect whatsoever on the caster level (or effective spell level, for that matter) of eldritch blast when you cast it. It’s a limitation on which spell-like abilities can be selected, not a modification of how those spell-like abilities are actually cast (that comes elsewhere in the feat, where it describes maximizing the spell-like ability, and again, has no effect on caster level or spell level).

And, just to be clear, 5d6, when maximized, is \$5\times 6 = 30\$, not \$36\$. That would be the value for an 11th-level warlock.

  • \$\begingroup\$ You may've buried the lede. That is, the example in the feat Maximize Spell-like Ability is just wrong. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 12, 2018 at 16:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan Yup, glazed right over that while trying to sort out the misconceptions in the question. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Mar 12, 2018 at 16:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan So it looks like from what I am reading the example for the maximized spell like ability in Complete Arcane on page 81 is wrong which is what is causing all of my confusion? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 12, 2018 at 18:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Khaldhool I do not think all of your confusion stems from the example using 36 rather than 30. Your guess was 12, which is a whole lot farther away from 30 than 36 is. Please, read this answer carefully, please be careful about the difference between caster level and spell level, and please be clear on the difference between a limitation, and a modification. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Mar 12, 2018 at 18:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan I just realized I was reading this as 3d6 not 36..... forgive my stupidity, feel free to close this question. Thanks for the help. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 12, 2018 at 18:32

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