The Sanctified Slayer Archetype says,

"At 1st level, a sanctified slayer gains the slayer’s studied target class feature. She uses her inquisitor level as her effective slayer level to determine the effects of studied target."

The Slayer's Studied Target feature says,

"A slayer can study an opponent he can see as a move action. ... The DCs of slayer class abilities against that opponent increase by 1."

Do spells count as a "class ability" for this purposes ? That is, would a Studied Slayer Inquisitor's spell DCs get a +1 bonus when he uses Studied Target ?


1 Answer 1


Yes... well, maybe

"Class abilities" is an ill-defined term, but based on the explanation of gaining a level in Character Advancement

Third, integrate all of the level’s class abilities and then roll for additional hit points.

It seems to be essentially synonymous with Class Features. Class Features do include Spellcasting, so it might apply.

There is a technical snag in RAW; the Sanctified Slayer archetype does not actually say the Studied Target ability to increase DC applies to Inquisitor Class Abilities/Features!

That being said, I would be surprised if a GM didn't presume that it is supposed to apply and allow it. In such a case, it would apply to any Spells the Sanctified Slayer were to cast. You will want to check with your GM before applying it carte blanche, though, and I would be wary of bringing such a character into organized play.

It is worth noting that there is also a game term Special Abilities, comprising of Extraordinary (Ex), Supernatural (Su), and Spell-Like Abilities (Sp). Notably, Spells are not on that list and Class Features that are Spellcasting, Cantrips, and Orisons do not have any of these tags.

With this knowledge, it may be the prerogative of some GM's that Class Abilities is implied to be a game term that means "Class Features that are Abilities (Ex, Su, or Sp)."

However, it is unlikely this is the case. Reference this portion which, although a summary, has terrifying implications if Spells/Spellcasting is not a Class Ability.

Note that there are a number of effects and prerequisites that rely on a character’s level or Hit Dice. Such effects are always based on the total number of levels or Hit Dice a character possesses, not just those from one class. The exception to this is class abilities, most of which are based on the total number of class levels that a character possesses of that particular class.

If Spellcasting is not a Class Ability, the rules (for multiclassing*) don't require you to keep putting levels in that class to advance it. Of course, this isn't how it works, so this probably indicates that Spells/Spellcasting is considered a Class Ability.

*Oddly, some classes' Spells/Spellcasting ability reference the classes' levels, while others do not.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I could see a GM possibly arguing that this wording means studied target would improve the DC of any features-originally-found-on-the-slayer that archetypes import into the sanctified slayer. I am not sure, off the top of my head, if that would actually improve any features of the sanctified slayer, though, and certainly would not want to set that precedent in general. (+1, in case it was unclear, for laying out the issues well.) \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Mar 17, 2020 at 3:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ifusaso: Prepare to be surprised, then, as our GM is strongly against this. My personal opinion is that RAW allows it whereas the RAI does not -- but it would be nice to know the consensus on this. \$\endgroup\$
    – Bugmaster
    Mar 17, 2020 at 3:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Bugmaster RAW, the ability says "The DCs of slayer class abilities against that opponent increase by 1." I have no clue as to the intent of the Sanctified Slayer archetype. KRyan has a good point that it probably still applies to Slayer Talents chosen as they are an ability that Slayers get (and therefore a Slayer class ability... I think). However, without a line in the archetype saying to apply any benefits to "Slayer [] abilities" to "Inquisitor [] abilities", the RAW is that it does not. However, reading the ability now I wonder if it benefits other Slayers lol \$\endgroup\$
    – Ifusaso
    Mar 17, 2020 at 5:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ And of course the English language can be interpreted seven ways to Sunday, depending on your usage of RAI. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ifusaso
    Mar 17, 2020 at 5:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ Any possibility of this answer addressing that abilities are typically either extraordinary, spell-like, or supernatural, and that spells are technically none of those? Or is that just a bridge too far? \$\endgroup\$ Mar 17, 2020 at 11:48

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