Let's take for example Pathfinder level 2 half-orc Crossblooded Primal_fire-Orc sorcerer. He took elemental ray at level 1. How much damage he should do with it at level 2? There are several options:

  1. 1d6+1 fire,
  2. 1d6+1 fire +1 (orc arcana) +1 (Primal_fire arcana) +1 (two favored class orc options).
  3. 1d6+1 fire +1 (orc arcana) +1 (two favored class orc option)

Orc favored class option: Add +1/2 to fire spell damage.

Orc bloodline arcana. You gain the orc subtype, including darkvision 60 feet and light sensitivity. If you already have darkvision, its range increases to 90 feet. Whenever you cast a spell that deals damage, that spell deals +1 point of damage per die rolled.

Primal bloodline arcana. Whenever you cast a spell with an energy descriptor that matches your elemental bloodline’s energy type, that spell deals +1 point of damage per die rolled.


2 Answers 2


Using a spell-like ability is not casting a spell

The elemental bloodline special ability elemental ray says

Elemental Ray (Sp): Starting at 1st level, you can unleash an elemental ray as a standard action, targeting any foe within 30 feet as a ranged touch attack. This ray deals 1d6 points of damage of your energy type + 1 for every two sorcerer levels you possess. You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Charisma modifier.

The special ability elemental ray is a spell-like ability and isn't a spell, and using the special ability elemental ray isn't casting a spell. The orc the question describes deals 1d6+1 points of fire damage with the spell-like ability elemental ray.

How to compute the spell level of this spell-like ability is covered by the FAQ… and the FAQ has several rulings that explain how spell-like abilities differ from spells (such as here, here, and here).

Each special ability in turn

  • The orc bloodline sorcerer arcana says, "Whenever you cast a spell that deals damage, that spell deals +1 point of damage per die rolled."
  • The wildblooded archetype's primal elemental bloodline sorcerer arcana says, "Whenever you cast a spell with an energy descriptor that matches your elemental bloodline’s energy type, that spell deals +1 point of damage per die rolled."
  • The orc sorcerer favored class ability says, "Add +1/2 point of fire damage to sorcerer spells cast that deal fire damage."

None of these special abilities function in conjunction with using a spell-like ability. I recommend the casting the spell burning hands until the spell scorching ray becomes available.

Further insight and explanation is available from the question Are Spell-Like Abilities Actually Spells? and Can "Basic Magic" be used with Arcane Strike on an (Evolved) Companion?

Note: The FAQ clarified in Oct. 2013 that the sorcerer archetypes crossblooded and wildblooded can't be combined. This thread, for those interested, debates that ruling at length.

The FAQ in Nov. 2013 ruled that the feat Augment Summoning applies—uniquely—to spell-like abilities as well as spells, despite the feat's description specifying only spells.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks. In the end, I am only more confused. Because augmented summoning works on SLA (summoner)= SLA is a spell, your FAQ quote = SLA is not a spell, works as prerequisites like "must be able to cast lvl* arcane spell" = SLA is a spell. I think it will need a case to case FAQ clarification. \$\endgroup\$
    – Reveil
    Commented Apr 14, 2014 at 10:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ I hate to say it but this disagrees with your interpretation. The FAQ makes it clear that SLAs are considered like spells for interactions that use the word spell. paizo.com/paizo/faq/v5748nruor1fm#v5748eaic9rbq \$\endgroup\$
    – Mourdos
    Commented Apr 11, 2016 at 9:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Mourdos The FAQ actually says a lot of stuff about spell-like abilities, like they don't count as being on a spell list and can't be affected by metamagic feats and metamagic rods. I'm not sure why you'd be convinced by the lone, specific example of the feat Augment Summoning, a feat which doesn't, in fact, actually mention casting a spell. But, hey, it's cool. I'm happy to be disagreed with. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 11, 2016 at 9:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Mourdos I did some research, and having the feat Augment Summoning affect summon nature's ally spell-likes surprised some folks enough that grousing occurred about it being a seemingly arbitrary change. That topic's discussed in this spell-like ability thread from 2010. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 11, 2016 at 10:05

From what I can tell, you get the second option.

@Hey I Can Chan has listed all of the descriptions which clearly state these effects only happen when you cast a spell. Fortunately using a Spell-like ability is casting a spell.

There are two possible resources here. One is the d20pfsrd site which seems to have some older text.

"A spell-like ability has a casting time of 1 standard action unless noted otherwise in the ability or spell description. In all other ways, a spell-like ability functions just like a spell."

There's also the text on the Paizo site:

"Spell-like abilities are magical and work just like spells..."

And then they go on to detail lots of things like provoking attacks of opportunity and being able to "cast defensively" and the standard action required to use, the fact that it is susceptible to spell resistance, etc.

To be clear, there does seem to be some discussion about some of the details like using Rods to boost the SLA. But there's really nothing here about them not being cast. In fact, they can be interrupted like regular spells and they can even be "cast defensively".

As far as I am concerned, these are spells and should get your full bonuses for your various fire-boosting abilities.


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