This question about Charm Person got me musing about a problem with the spell. Obviously, you can't cast Charm Person in the middle of a forum to sway an interlocutor to your side without the other 20 persons noticing the foul play. And yet, I'd find it incredibly cool if it was somehow pulled off in a game.

My question is thus : Is there any mean to covertly cast a spell in d&d3.5 / Pathfinder ?

I've thought about Quicken Spell but nothing in the feat description indicates that you're not noticeable in doing this (as the spell still "takes an action", be it a swift one).

  • \$\begingroup\$ I think Cityscape had some metamagic feats that let you make your spells appear to come from another source or make your somatic components look like other mundane actions. \$\endgroup\$
    – Cobalt
    Commented Feb 24, 2014 at 20:00

5 Answers 5


Races of Stone page 133 has an expanded use of Sleight of Hand to hide spellcasting chants and gestures.

Complete Scoundrel page 85 has the Conceal Spellcasting skill trick. That costs 2 skill points, and requires Concentration 1, Sleight of Hand 5, and Spellcraft 1.

Cityscape has Deceptive Spell on page 60, and Invisible Spell on page 61. These are metamagic effects that make a spell look like it came from somewhere else for +1 spell level, and make a spell’s effect invisible, for +0 spell level, respectively.

If you are a Bard, there is the Disguise Spell feat.

Otherwise, Eschew Materials, Silent Spell, and Still Spell are your best bet.

Also, for a completely different tack, psionic powers do not have any components, and you can hide their display entirely with a fairly easy Concentration check. As a result, a Psion (probably a Telepath) may be a better choice for this.

  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 & +1 (If I could) Sleight of Hand & Conceal trick this is much cheaper than the feats and no spell level increases \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 28, 2013 at 1:15

One of the worst aspects of D&D 3.5/PF is the idea that something cool you want to try isn't possible without some feat or skill trick or something. Don't buy into that.

I would simply allow a spellcaster to make a Bluff/Stealth/Sleight of Hand vs. Perception/Sense Motive/Spellcraft (hey he just did something sneaky/hey he's acting weird/hey that's a distinct magical verb), modified by the nature of the spell (does it have V, S, and/or M, as more is harder, and does it have any sensory effect) and other relevant stuff (just another guy in that group over there vs. the center of everyone's attention)

In fact, maybe it's Bluff to conceal the V, Stealth to conceal the S, and Sleight of Hand to conceal the M component. Hard for someone not super stealthy to conceal a spell with all three, but one shouldn't be too difficult. Having a relevant feat or skill trick then would make it automatic, without it being impossible without them. "Well, I was talking to the other day and she said !" And maybe Spellcraft, as being specifically for recognizing spellcasting, works against the normal DC or at best allows the Bluff etc. to be an "assist" against it.

  • 9
    \$\begingroup\$ Devil's advocate: You're getting a mechanical benefit from this, so you should bloody well pay for it. Else the druid (I was going to say fighter, but let's be honest here) may as well ask why can't he just swing for more damage and less accuracy and why he should have to bother with the whole 'Power Attack' feat? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 3, 2012 at 10:24
  • 11
    \$\begingroup\$ They have paid for it, in skill ranks. Even if you require only one skill check (and I think the Sleight of Hand use from Races of Stone is OP), to pass it the spellcaster has to have invested in the ability to pass it. I would absolutely let the druid in your example swing at -4 for +3 damage as a standard action rather than as an attack. That's so much worse than PA it isn't even funny, but that's what a bit of training buys you. Feats don't need to make an ability possible to matter, they just need to make it practical. \$\endgroup\$
    – darch
    Commented Nov 4, 2012 at 6:30

Depriving a spell of its components via a combination of feats such as Silent Spell, Still Spell and/or Eschew Materials makes it a purely mental (and undetectable) action.

Bards also have the opportunity to weave a spell in their performance (and make its spellcasting unnoticed) via the Disguise Spell feat.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I upvoted this answer for one reason: Wizards and sorcerers are supposed to be all about raw magical power. Bards, on the other hand, are all about trickery and deceit. What you want is the purview of a bard, in my humble opinion. \$\endgroup\$
    – Undreren
    Commented Nov 5, 2012 at 20:04


30 feet is a long way (base level 1 range) to be away from someone when you want to charm them: (Charm Person has a range of 25 ft +5 ft/2 levels)

Make use of that:

  • Get the rest of the party to engage the subject in conversation, loudly.

  • Distract them with a nearby accident or bribe someone to fall over.

  • Stand in a dark alleyway where the target can't see you.

  • Etc.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Ooh, nice ! Sometimes we're so stuck in our Arcane ways we forget the mundane stuff works too. \$\endgroup\$
    – Nigralbus
    Commented Apr 11, 2013 at 9:41

As stated Feats & Skill Triks are the best ways to do it or simply fall back on the required skills to do so.

As a tip, when using the verbal components try to use a language most people probably don't know in conjuction with the bluff check..this should add a substantial conditional modifier assuming you are correct that nobody there speaks that language, or the language is not suspect in it's self...ie, if a wizard starts speaking in draconic, I'm probably gonna guess it's a spell..however, if the dwarf is in the middle of a bar surrounded by humans and he starts speaking in Dwarven..he'll probably get a pass from anyone who doesn't speak the language!

If you can try to do the something similar for somatic components. This works wonders on a spell that actually has no Somatic component..because instead of doing that you can simply give rude gestures while speaking in another language to make them think your insulting their mother or something...you may get the conditional modifier but the guy who's mother you just insulted might have something to say to you!

  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 for the alt language bit. This is so much cheaper than the feats plus no spell level increases. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 28, 2013 at 1:14

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