Suppose a character activates a spell-like ability that requires a melee touch attack, such as the Lore Keeper ability of the Knowledge domain.

Can that spellcaster forfeit the touch attack and be considered as holding the charge, with consequences such as delivering the spell-like ability through iterative attacks and being considered armed?

Additionally, can a character activate a melee spell-like ability outside of a threatened area, move to the enemy, and deliver the spell-like ability (as with a touch spell)?


1 Answer 1


Yes, Spell-like abilities count as spells for the purposes of holding the charge.

The two relevant excerpts from the core rules are the holding the charge rule in the combat chapter (that you linked in your question, reproduced here for clarity):

Holding the charge: If you don’t discharge the spell in the round when you cast the spell, you can hold the charge indefinitely. You can continue to make touch attacks round after round. If you touch anything or anyone while holding a charge, even unintentionally, the spell discharges.

And the spell-like abilities rules in the Magic chapter:

Usually, a spell-like ability works just like the spell of that name. A spell-like ability has no verbal, somatic, or material component, nor does it require a focus. The user activates it mentally. Armor never affects a spell-like ability’s use, even if the ability resembles an arcane spell with a somatic component.

A spell-like ability has a casting time of 1 standard action unless noted otherwise in the ability or spell description. In all other ways, a spell-like ability functions just like a spell.

I've bolded the critical clarification above. The description tells you how Spell-like abilities differ from spells (lack of components, mental activation, etc), then tells you that it otherwise functions like a spell. Since holding the charge isn't listed as an exception, the rule is valid for Spell-like abilities.


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