In the Core Rulebook it states that you can cast a "touch" spell, move, and touch your target (as a free action) all in 1 round if you want, in whatever order you want.

Does this also apply to range spells that have a casting time of standard action? Like Burning Hands?

If so could I cast, say, Chain Lightning, move into position, and then unleash the spell on my foes in 1 round?


2 Answers 2



Here's the relevant part of the spell rules, under standard actions:

Most spells require 1 standard action to cast. You can cast such a spell either before or after you take a move action.

Casting Time

Most spells have a casting time of 1 standard action. A spell cast in this manner immediately takes effect.

Touch Spells

Many spells have a range of touch. To use these spells, you cast the spell and then touch the subject. In the same round that you cast the spell, you may also touch (or attempt to touch) as a free action. You may take your move before casting the spell, after touching the target, or between casting the spell and touching the target. You can automatically touch one friend or use the spell on yourself, but to touch an opponent, you must succeed on an attack roll.

Ranged Touch Spells in Combat: Some spells allow you to make a ranged touch attack as part of the casting of the spell. These attacks are made as part of the spell and do not require a separate action. Ranged touch attacks provoke an attack of opportunity, even if the spell that causes the attacks was cast defensively. Unless otherwise noted, ranged touch attacks cannot be held until a later turn (see FAQ below for more information.)

The part about casting, moving, and then having the spell take effect by touching is an exception that applies to touch spells. For other spells, they take effect immediately upon casting unless the spell says otherwise. If you want to cast Chain Lightning from a certain position, you have to move there first.

In fact, with touch spells you don't have to use them in the same round you cast them. You can hold the charge of the spell and use it in another round:

Holding the Charge: If you don't discharge the spell in the round when you cast the spell, you can hold the charge indefinitely. You can continue to make touch attacks round after round. If you touch anything or anyone while holding a charge, even unintentionally, the spell discharges. If you cast another spell, the touch spell dissipates. You can touch one friend as a standard action or up to six friends as a full-round action. Alternatively, you may make a normal unarmed attack (or an attack with a natural weapon) while holding a charge. In this case, you aren't considered armed and you provoke attacks of opportunity as normal for the attack. If your unarmed attack or natural weapon attack normally doesn't provoke attacks of opportunity, neither does this attack. If the attack hits, you deal normal damage for your unarmed attack or natural weapon and the spell discharges. If the attack misses, you are still holding the charge.

  • \$\begingroup\$ So if I understand the *Ranged Touch Spells" I can move, then cast chain lightning it can be delivered in that same round though? \$\endgroup\$
    – Nerevar
    Mar 24, 2014 at 14:16
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @Nerevar Chain Lightning doesn't have a ranged touch attack, so it's not a ranged touch spell. But for both Chain Lightning and ranged touch, you move, then cast, and the effect happens immediately. Same if you cast (effect happens now), then move. Melee touch lets you cast, move, then touch to apply the effect of the spell. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tridus
    Mar 24, 2014 at 14:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ Got it! So I can move, then cast Chain Lightning which fires right away. Since it's not a ranged touch spell, there's do attack roll. Or I could cast and fire it and then take a move action after. thanks!!! \$\endgroup\$
    – Nerevar
    Mar 24, 2014 at 14:23
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Nerevar Casting and firing it are one and the same; there's no difference. Or, put differently, both happen at the same time, and you can't do one and not the other. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 24, 2014 at 14:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think the right way to view it, is that touch attack spells are spells that put an enchantment on you at the time of casting, that lasts ~3 seconds, and it has an effect when you touch an opponent. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 24, 2014 at 21:01

No, you may not. You cannot start casting a spell, move, and then unleash a spell. There aren't any exceptions to this*.

Touch spells don't even have an exception to this. The entire casting of the spell is done at once, just like any other spell, and you don't get to move in the middle of that. Uniquely, though, the casting of a touch spell involves the creation of a delayed effect that will stick around to be discharged later.

The exception of charged spells is only this: in the same round you cast a touch spell, you can touch someone for free, discharging it. And, also, you can move before then, if you want to. This isn't an instance of moving during spell casting, though, just getting a free poke at someone.

* There probably is an exception somewhere, though, since this is Pathfinder.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Touch spells gain the option to "Hold the Charge". \$\endgroup\$
    – Axoren
    Aug 11, 2014 at 23:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 for "There probably is an exception somewhere, though, since this is Pathfinder" \$\endgroup\$ Dec 13, 2014 at 2:27

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