In last session, out of panic, my magus used an empowered mirror image to protect himself. I rolled a 4 on the dice, +3 since I'm level 9, which totals 7 images, and the empower would bring that number to 10.

However the spell specifies a maximum of 8 images. Does such limit get "empowered" too, going up to 12 in this case?

Based on a discussion in the Paizo forums about this, I get there are two main point of view:

  • The first one states that the 1.5 multiplier from empowered spell applies to the whole expression min(1D4 + 1/3L, 8), giving a total of 1.5 * min(1D4 + 1/3L, 8), effectively going above the limit.

  • The second one instead is based on the interpretation that the formula should be min(1.5 * (1D4 + 1/3L), 8), applying the multiplier only to the actual "variables".

While as a player I most certainly like the first interpretation more, is there any kind of "official" ruling on this, or is it DM choice?


Empower Spells only work on variable numbers (most likely the dice rolls for most spells), meaning it doesn't increase anything else on the spell description that is a static value. The only exception are bonuses to those variable results, such as Cure Light Wounds Xd8+Y, both values are increased.

For Mirror Image, Empower Spell would let you create 1d4+1 * 1.5 copies per cast, still limited to 8 copies. If you are 9th level, you would create (1d4+3 * 1.5) copies, or 6-8 copies, with higher chances of getting all 8 copies than an unpowered spell:

1 on 1d4 = 6 copies

2 on 1d4 = 7 copies

3 or 4 on 1d4 = 8 copies

Empower Spell shouldn't increase even somewhat "variable" numbers like X per caster level effects, like Planar Binding's duration (1 day per caster level).

  • \$\begingroup\$ I hate to ask, but I frequently see empowered fireball in games. Fireball has the same wording that the damage caps out at 10d6, so by this ruling there is generally no point in empowering fireball. \$\endgroup\$
    – Fering
    Jul 9 '18 at 19:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Fering care to elaborate on that question? \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    Jul 9 '18 at 20:41
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ An empowered fireball cast at 10th CL isnt going to cause an additional 5d6 damage because you increased the CL by 50%, it will cause an additional 5d6 because you are increasing the variable part of the spell by 50%, so your 10d6 increases to 15d6. What is variable here is what changes between two casts of the spell. \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    Jul 9 '18 at 20:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ If I understood it correct, its the topic of this thread at paizo boards, correct? \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    Jul 9 '18 at 20:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ShadownKras Ah, I see my mistake. I wasnt considering the damage and the damage dice separate. Empower affects the damage and not the dice. \$\endgroup\$
    – Fering
    Jul 10 '18 at 6:02

Based on popular consensus, with an Empowered Mirror Image you'd hit the cap of your spell limit and make the maximum number of shadows nearly every time due to the empowered effect, but would be unable to exceed the maximum limit of eight shadows.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ The text you quote says about "variable numeric effects", but the hard limit is not a "variable", does it apply too? \$\endgroup\$ Nov 27 '15 at 7:44

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