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The Lunging Spell Touch feat lets you extend the reach of touch spells. Can this feat also be used when casting touch spells on willing creatures? For example, can you lunge to cast cure light wounds on an ally?

The intent is clearly for enemy-targeted spells, as the feat description specifies that it's used to "touch foes" and applies to "touch attacks", but I'm not aware of any actual mechanical distinction that prevents this from being applied to touching an ally. You should certainly be able to lunge and cast CLW offensively on an undead creature, so is it acceptable to do the same on a willing, living creature?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you already familiar with the rules for spells that have a Range entry of Touch? If not, has reading those rules changed this question? If so, then could the question make readers aware of your reading of the feat's benefit in light of them? (Ye gods, that sounds like a homework assignment. I'm sorry. Pretend like this comment also says something cool and witty, okay?) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 4, 2021 at 4:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan I've checked both the rules and other discussions on touch mechanics (e.g. this RPG.SE question but I haven't found any of it very helpful for this question. Is there any text in the range rules I'm missing that you think would be relevant? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 4, 2021 at 4:21

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The fluffy descriptions in Pathfinder are fluff; they serve to illustrate the mechanic, but they don't modify the mechanic. The only rules-relevant text is the mechanical text; in the case of Lunging Spell Touch (as with most feats), that's the Prerequisite(s) and the Benefit.

The relevant part of the feat's benefit is:

You can increase the reach of your spells’ melee touch attacks by 5 feet until the end of your turn by taking a –2 penalty to your AC until your next turn.

The Benefit section says nothing about "foes", just that you can increase the range of "Range: Touch". Is Cure Light Wounds a "Range: Touch" spell? Yes. Therefore, Lunging Spell Touch can modify it, and the caster can lunge to heal an ally.

Note that "Range: touch" implies a touch attack:

Touch

You must touch a creature or object to affect it. A touch spell that deals damage can score a critical hit just as a weapon can. A touch spell threatens a critical hit on a natural roll of 20 and deals double damage on a successful critical hit. You can touch up to 6 willing targets as part of the casting, but all targets of the spell must be touched in the same round that you finish casting the spell. ...

Since "Range: touch" spells can score critical hits, they must necessarily be attacks (and, that they're touch attacks is implied by being "touch" spells).

-- spell range description

Compare, say, Deadly Troupe Teamwork, which includes "foe" in the Benefit section:

When at least one ally who also has this feat is threatening a foe, you [gain bonuses]. You also gain [bonus on some] checks made against that foe.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is the interpretation I agree with, but my hesitation is that the feat's benefit text does not call out "Range: Touch" spells, but "touch attacks". When you target an ally with a touch spell, does it still count as an attack? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 4, 2021 at 4:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Hydrothermal (and minnmass, since it’d be a good addition to the answer): Yes, technically all spells that involve touching involve a “touch attack,” it’s just that with friendly spells you assume your ally actively cooperates and so the “attack” automatically succeeds. There are rules that explain this and allow for things like people trying to avoid beneficial spells (say, because they don’t know it’s beneficial and don’t trust the caster). \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Jan 4, 2021 at 4:39
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I would rule no.

According to the Touch Spells in Combat rule

You can automatically touch one friend or use the spell on yourself, but to touch an opponent, you must succeed on an attack roll.

Although the terminology is not quite the same, this implies to me that touching a friend does not involve a touch attack (since you don't need to succeed on an attack roll). And Lunging Spell Touch specifically only works on 'your spells' melee touch attacks'.

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The answer is yes. The easiest way to prove this is with the cure/inflict spells. Both are range touch, but as they are polar opposites, they have different results depending on if you are positive or negative energy affiliated. So it can either be a beneficial spell or a harmful spell. You could use this feat with the spells to cure/inflict with reach.

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