9
\$\begingroup\$

Say my Mystic attempts to cast Fear as a 1st level spell on a creature.

1st: When you cast fear as a 1st-level spell, it affects one living creature of CR 4 or lower at close range...

If the DM reveals that the creature is above CR 4 and would be unaffected, does my turn then end with one of my 1st level spell slots being consumed, or is the spell simply never cast?

As far as I could tell, I couldn't find any specific rules about this in the spellcasting section of the CRB or elsewhere. I also haven't played Pathfinder, but this question might apply for that system as well.

\$\endgroup\$
6
\$\begingroup\$

Your spell slot is consumed

From the Magic and Spells section, we can correlate two rules:

From Concentration and Interrupted Spells

If you ever try to cast a spell in conditions where the characteristics of the spell can’t be made to conform, the spell fails.

This clarifies that even attempting to cast on an invalid target causes spell failure.

Further up, in Spell Level, Caster Level, and Spell Slots

When the rules say that you lose a spell slot or the spell fails, that means that you have expended one of the total number of spells of that level that you can cast per day.

| improve this answer | |
\$\endgroup\$
1
\$\begingroup\$

CR is an out-of-universe concept, and your in-universe character does not know whether a creature is above or below the required CR. As far as I'm aware your character can select invalid targets for spells, and they will simply not work if they are not correctly targeted.

For an analogous example, if a spell requires the target to be willing, and you cast it on a target that is not actually willing, you still cast the spell but it has no effect. That will use your turn and your spell slot since your character didn't know whether the spell was going to work until after they cast it.

Per a comment by you (goodwind), this is also supported by the rules. From the core rule book section on "Casting Spells", at the end of the sub-section "Concentration and Interrupted Spells" it says:

If you ever try to cast a spell in conditions where the characteristics of the spell can’t be made to conform, the spell fails. For example, if you try to cast a spell that targets a humanoid on a non-humanoid, the spell fails.

This would easily be extended to the CR example as the character used a spell where the conditions could not be made to conform to the requirements of the spell.

In-universe in this situation your character would only know that the creature was unaffected, and would not know whether that was due to the creature's CR or their Will save since either of those would result in the same lack of effect. If I were DM'ing that situation I would only tell the player that their spell didn't succeed, and not that the creature's CR was too high, but that is definitely up to the style and discretion of your DM.

One way to avoid this sort of situation would be to roll a knowledge check on your opponent before fighting them. If you roll high enough the DM could inform you (the player, not the character) of that creature's CR as well as some of their other traits. The in-universe equivalent of that would be the knowledge of the creature's relative strength, which would tell your Mystic that they shouldn't waste their time and spell slots casting Fear on them.

| improve this answer | |
\$\endgroup\$
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ With a little further digging, I found a passage that seems to support this: "If you ever try to cast a spell in conditions where the characteristics of the spell can’t be made to conform, the spell fails. For example, if you try to cast a spell that targets a humanoid on a non-humanoid, the spell fails." I imagine this pretty clearly extends to attempting to cast a CR-specific spell on a creature that doesn't meet the CR requirements. The comments on out-of-universe mechanics are very helpful. \$\endgroup\$ – goodwind May 26 at 20:56
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Excellent find! I'll edit that into my answer so that people who read it later have a citation for it \$\endgroup\$ – Kevin Wells May 26 at 20:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ Relevant meta: Don't signal your edits in text. Instead, you should edit your answer to read as if it were always the best version of itself; anyone interested in older versions can view the revision history. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast May 26 at 23:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast The reason I signaled my edit was to give credit where it is due since I didn't find the citation. Sorry that that doesn't conform to the site rules, feel free to edit it to format it correctly while not taking undue credit for other people's work. \$\endgroup\$ – Kevin Wells May 27 at 14:26
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @KevinWells: Done. Please check to make sure it matches your intent. The edit note's not really necessary if what you want to do is give credit to OP - it's just a matter of rewriting the phrasing a bit to introduce the citation naturally into the text :) \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast May 27 at 17:38

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.