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Specifically for spells such as Dispel Magic, Restore Senses, Remove Disease, or Remove Curse, when you roll your Counteract check using your

relevant skill modifier or other appropriate modifier to your check against the target’s DC. [...] the counteract check modifier is your spellcasting ability modifier plus your spellcasting proficiency bonus, plus any bonuses and penalties that specifically apply to counteract checks.

the results are based both on your success with the dice and the level of the ability/spell used when performing the Counteract

Critical Success Counteract the target if its counteract level is no more than 3 levels higher than your effect’s counteract level.
Success Counteract the target if its counteract level is no more than 1 level higher than your effect’s counteract level.
Failure Counteract the target if its counteract level is lower than your effect’s counteract level.
Critical Failure You fail to counteract the target.

This means that, against level-appropriate effects, you are spending one of your higher spell slots (or similarly powerful resources) for the attempt to overcome a negative effect, requiring you to roll in the range of 8-12 to get a Success. That means, without modification, you can expect to fail at least 1/3 to 1/2 the time. Against some effects that this would represent a quality of life increase, this is fine... but when attempting to overcome permanent Blindness or Mummy Rot (for instance) you may not have the luxury of accepting failure.

When out of combat, what methods are available to boost your Counteract checks, particularly for spells?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I just don't understand why Paizo hates on counterspelling so much. It was actually worthless in 1e, and doesn't seem to be much better in 2e :( \$\endgroup\$ Mar 16, 2021 at 12:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ @RevenantBacon I don't know Paizo's rationale, but personally I think denial ("counterspell says no") can be really frustrating to play against (see: M:tG blue players), and can be kind of repetitious/boring to play. \$\endgroup\$
    – Aesin
    Mar 16, 2021 at 13:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Aesin 5e seem to be fairly reasonable in the counterspelling department, besides a comparison of MtG to RPG games is poor at best, they're different beasts altogether. In MtG, everything is spells, so a deck full of counterspells just stops the other person from playing the game. In an RPG, that's not an issue. Spells are only about half of someone's options for actions to use on a given turn. If my spells keep getting countered, I can still can attack with a sword, run away, aid my allies, taunt the enemy, or many other things. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 16, 2021 at 14:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RevenantBacon note that this is counteract, not counterspell specifically. I've yet to play with a counterspeller in PF2e, but the counteract system I've found to be fairly useful and fair seeming, especially with the existence of Hero Points for important checks. \$\endgroup\$
    – ESCE
    Mar 16, 2021 at 15:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ESCE I see that you haven't been permanently blinded or contracted Insidious Mummy Rot (which takes one successful Counteract to remove the curse and a second if you also want to remove the disease instead of continuing with reduced maximum HP) \$\endgroup\$
    – Ifusaso
    Mar 16, 2021 at 17:46

2 Answers 2

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Aid

Aid is the only way that I've found that might work on spells.

You must explain to the GM exactly how you’re trying to help, and they determine whether you can Aid your ally. ... The GM can add any relevant traits to your preparatory action or to your Aid reaction depending on the situation, or even allow you to Aid checks other than skill checks and attack rolls.

So, depending on the situation, your GM may permit you to Aid someone who is going to do a counteract check. Maybe, for example, you and your friend are trying to use Dispel Magic on a magical teleportation rune inscribed on the ground. Your friend let's you know they are gonna dispel the magic (via Dispel Magic), so you Aid by using your knowledge of the Arcane to identify a weakness in the rune's construction, find some ley line energy and direct it to your friend, surge the magic of the teleportation rune, etc. I'd call for an Arcana check in that case.

Hero Points also help, obviously, but probably aren't what you are looking for.

I found no other potential universal boost to ALL counteract checks, but if you are using a skill to counteract, then there are a lot of boosting options.

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Unfortunately, I think the only things I've seen that modify these checks at all are Shadow Siphon (spell a/o 5) and Clever Counterspell (feat, wizard 12), and neither of them apply to this. (And Clever Counterspell's is a debuff.)

Other than the Aid checks (which I hadn't thought of before I read ESCE's answer but are a good point), I think your only way of ensuring a better result here is to cast using a scroll or wand made at a higher level than you'd otherwise have ready and available, to push the level of your effect up so you'd still successfully counteract the effect on a failure. This means significant expense, especially if you're not making them yourself, and still has the chance of critical failure.

The only other relevant things I found were Celestial Peaches, which are the perfect combination of high-level, consumable, and rare. As well as only coming from a single limited and near-mythical source in the setting.

Type: rejuvenation; Level: 17; Price: 3,000 gp

You gain the effects of 7th-level neutralize poison, regenerate, remove curse, and remove disease spells. The peach has a counteract modifier of +27.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Shadow Siphon is a good find! \$\endgroup\$
    – ESCE
    Mar 15, 2021 at 18:20

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