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In the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Advanced Race Guide, there is an archetype available to dwarf clerics named the Forgemaster. This archetype has a class feature that I'm not sure to fully understand:

Divine Smith (Su)

Whenever a forgemaster casts a spell that targets a weapon, shield, or armor, the spell takes effect at +1 caster level. If the spell has one or more metamagic feats applied, she reduces the total level adjustment to the spell by 1 (minimum 0).

Metamagic feats are applied to spells upon preparation for clerics. What I don't understand is how the level adjustment can be reduced, since it depends on the target, which is unknown during preparation?

Let's take some examples:

  1. I want to silently cast Magic Weapon on a sword
  2. I want to silently cast Chill Metal on a sword
  3. I want to silently cast Chill Metal on a door handle

What are the level adjustments for those examples?

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Answers

  • Magic Weapon: The spell magic weapon targets a weapon, shield, or armor. The forgemaster's supernatural ability divine smith reduces by 1 the final modified level of slot the spell occupies after all metamagic feats are computed (e.g. a silent magic weapon occupies a 1st-level slot, a quickened, stilled magic weapon occupies a 5th-level slot). Further, when the forgemaster casts the spell magic weapon, the supernatural ability divine smith increases his caster level by 1.
  • Chill Metal: The spell chill metal doesn't target a weapon, shield or armor, although the spell can be aimed at a creature's weapon, shield, or armor. (This distinction is discussed below.) The forgemaster's supernatural ability divine smith provides no benefits when preparing the spell chill metal nor when casting the spell chill metal.

Specifics

The supernatural ability divine smith could've been phrased far better. Even on Paizo's site, the ability's unclear.

The problem is the difference between a spell's Target entry and how one goes about Aiming a Spell.

Some spells have a target or targets. You cast these spells on creatures or objects, as defined by the spell itself. You must be able to see or touch the target, and you must specifically choose that target. You do not have to select your target until you finish casting the spell.

Thus the ability divine smith does 2 things.

  1. Whenever a forgemaster casts a spell that targets a weapon, shield, or armor, the spell takes effect at +1 caster level.
  2. If the spell [that targets a weapon, shield, or armor] has one or more metamagic feats applied, [a forgemaster] reduces the total level adjustment to the spell by 1 (minimum 0).

The Target entry of the spell magic weapon means it does work with the ability divine smith, while the Target entry of the spell chill metal means it doesn't work with the ability divine smith. The former's Target is weapon touched--targeting a weapon--, and the latter's Target is equipment--not formally targeting a weapon, armor, or shield. A generous DM may agree the increased caster level applies to any spell that ends up being cast on a creature's weapon, shield, or armor--and that's a pretty fair ruling--, but it's not something I'd rely on being universally true.

Clarification

The supernatural ability divine smith is phrased in such a way that the ability makes it appear like something happens after the spell's cast to the slot in which the spell was prepared--that's kind of impossible in Pathfinder. Nothing I know of does that. And, in fact, the ability doesn't do that. For clarity, my opinion's that this ability should have been presented as follows:

  1. [When the forgemaster prepares a] spell [that targets a weapon, shield, or armor that] has one or more metamagic feats applied, [a forgemaster] reduces the total level adjustment to the spell by 1 (minimum 0).
  2. Whenever a forgemaster casts a spell that targets a weapon, shield, or armor, the spell takes effect at +1 caster level.

It's two different abilities whose only relationship is the spell's Target entry. It doesn't make a difference in the end, really, which one is presented first, but it sure makes a difference in initial comprehension.

This means to get the most from the supernatural ability divine smith one must Dumpster-dive for spells which specifically target a weapon, shield, or armor. Luckily, search engines make this much easier: Weapon, Shield, Armor. Results, however, remain imperfect.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ So, won't the Chill Metal cast on an enemy's sword gain the +1 increase to caster level (as it targets an item which is a weapon)? \$\endgroup\$ – G0BLiN Oct 10 '14 at 23:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for clarifying, you are right, the rules could have been phrased better. It may be worth incorporating your comment into your answer, since it mentions Chill Metal explicitly to answer the OP's examples. \$\endgroup\$ – G0BLiN Oct 11 '14 at 0:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ I meant "add some text explicitly stating that while Chill Metal may happen to be aimed at the sword, its target is still 'metal equipment [blah blah blah...]' and not a weapon" - that's what got me the first time... (I did notice the bullet, mind you, ;) it's the distinction between the ["target" entry of a spell] as opposed to the [actual target the spell was cast on] that I missed) \$\endgroup\$ – G0BLiN Oct 11 '14 at 0:40

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