The Shadow spells I'm looking at are (Greater) Shadow Enchantment, (Greater) Shadow Conjuration, (Greater) Shadow Evocation, and Shades (not just any spell with the [shadow] descriptor).

They are X level spells that can create quasi-real X-1 level spell effects. Of course, allowing them to be X-1 level spells that can create quasi-real X-1 level spell effects would be pretty overpowered - so that's what I'm looking to do. Not to actually use in game, just to know if it can be done, RAW - so authors' intent for it to be impossible is not an answer; I already know that.

If it is not possible, what is the closest I can get? A way to make them emulate spell of the same level as spell slot used to cast them, maybe? Increasing the max level of spells they can recreate would be a solid second-best, as would any other effects allowing for equal level of spell slot used and spell effect created.

  • \$\begingroup\$ This is a rather broad question. Are you looking for getting them earlier on a specific spell list, or using a specific resource/method to get them earlier? \$\endgroup\$ – william porter May 6 '19 at 19:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ I rearranged your question a little bit (and removed the Header; that is a specific-use formatting option and using it for emphasis causes issues for handicapped Stackers) \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso May 7 '19 at 0:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ifusaso thank you for your help. @ cloze voters — what is so broad about it? How it is different from all the other "how can I..." questions here? \$\endgroup\$ – Mołot May 7 '19 at 6:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not a Pathfinder expert so I haven't weighed in one way or the other, but I suspect the "too broad" close votes are because you ask a different question in the last paragraph. (Though despite my lack of Pathfinder expertise, it seems fine to essentially ask "is this possible, and if not, what is the closest I can get?" in one question.) \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast May 7 '19 at 6:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast "is this possible, and if not, what is the closest I can get?" was exactly what I meant, and I believed it is reasonable, too. I edited my question to use your phrase, it looks more clear indeed. \$\endgroup\$ – Mołot May 7 '19 at 7:30

The most efficient way to learn/cast Shadow spells at a lower level would be with scrolls. This won't let you cast a Shadow spell as an X-1 level spell to emulate an X-1 level spell effect, however it will let your villain learn/cast theses spells at a level lower than what he would be able to normally.

A prepared caster class you can learn the spells by studying a scroll containing the spells. Adding the spell this way requires the character to decipher the magical writing then a DC 15 + spell's level versus your Spellcraft to add it to your spellbook. You still won't be able to prepare them until you have a slot you can cast them in, but they will have learned them.

To cast them at a lower level, you can use a scroll to cast the spell at ANY LEVEL. There are two main ways to cast from a scroll. To cast the easy way, the scroll must be the correct type (arcane or divine), must be on your class list, and you must have the correct ability score to cast it. If your Caster level is equal to the scroll's, then you automatically succeed. If not, you must succeed a DC = Scroll's caster level + 1 versus your caster level to cast from the scroll. If you don't meet those conditions you can still cast the scroll with a Use Magic Device check with a DC of 20 + Spell's caster level. For this you still must meet the ability score to cast it, but you can also emulate this with a separate Use Magic Device check.

As a bonus: After adding the Shadow Spell to your spell list from the scroll, you can use the Scribe Scroll feat to create more copies of said spell, thus granting your villain an infinite supply of Shadow spells!

  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure how this answers the question... Can the spells be cast at a lower spell level than normal or not? If not, how is scroll use closer to doing that than e.g possessing an at-will spell like ability to that effect? \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil May 13 '19 at 22:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @thedarkwanderer I did not provide an answer for casting Shadow spells at a lower spell level. I interpreted the question to be asking for anyway to cast a spell at a lower character level than intended and answered for that. I believe your answer is the best way to cast spells at a lower spell level than normal. I am unaware of any common ways to get these Shadow spells as an at-will ability; however the scrolls can be used by most characters(skill required) and can be made by characters with the Scribe Scroll feat. \$\endgroup\$ – Balefire Liege May 14 '19 at 14:48

You can do this with one of them easily...

Shadow Enchantment and only Shadow Enchantment qualifies for the trait Wayang Spellhunter, because only Shadow Enchantment is of 3rd level or lower. That trait lowers the spell's level by one when the spell is used with a metamagic feat, of which there are several which have a +0 spell level adjustment. Unlike the related and formerly superior trait Magical Lineage, Wayang Spellhunter has not been errataed to no longer allow spell level lowering.

Unfortunately, this is unlikely to be of much help past early levels since Shadow Enchantment is only a 3rd level spell normally so by level 7 you will almost certainly have better options to spend actions on than your 2nd level all-purpose enchantment.

  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 - as I wrote, it is not for real use as a player. Maybe as an NPC villain, mostly to understand system better. So it being impractical does not make this answer any worse. \$\endgroup\$ – Mołot May 7 '19 at 7:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ShadowKras Yes, that's the errata for the Magical Lineage trait, as I discuss in my answer. It's quoted on the Wayang Spellhunter trait page with a disclaimer saying there's no official indication that this is supposed to apply to the Wayang Spellhunter trait but the pfsrd20 site team thinks that it is "likely" Paizo would errata the same way if they were sufficiently aware. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil May 7 '19 at 15:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ShadowKras authors' intent is explicitly not part of this question, so criticizing answer for ignoring it is highly unjust. \$\endgroup\$ – Mołot May 8 '19 at 9:08

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