This came up on the /r/pathfinder_rpg subreddit, and it made me wonder, is it possible to cast an immediate action spell while you're casting a one round spell?

The idea was that someone could begin casting Summon Monster on their turn, get attacked, and cast Emergency Force Sphere as an immediate action to block the attack and continue casting Summon Monster.

To me, this seems wrong, as you would have to break your focus on casting the Summon Monster spell to focus on casting Emergency Force Sphere, and to my knowledge, if you willingly drop concentration on a spell being cast, it's the same as failing a concentration check, and the spell is lost.

The person in question seemed to be convinced because the spell's description didn't state you couldn't use it in this way, it had to be viable. (Even though Pathfinder is clearly a Rules-Can, not a Rules-Can't game).

I wanted to reach out to you guys and see if you have any information one way or the other.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Incidentally, if this is possible, the summoned creature would have to appear somewhere inside the force sphere, since force walls block line of effect. Since the sphere is dismissable, that probably won't be a huge tactical problem, but it's an interesting limitation to keep in mind. \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Commented Apr 15, 2016 at 4:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ I've not marked this as a duplicate of this question because this one asks a slightly broader question, but I'm thinking it's pretty much the same thing. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 15, 2016 at 11:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ I didn't even think to look up questions specifically asking for Emergency Force Sphere. Sorry about that. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 15, 2016 at 14:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ Don't worry about it. I'm loathe to close Pathfinder questions unilaterally except when they're identical, leaving edge cases like this to crowdsourcing. Besides, this one's received a lot more attention than that older one, so it looks like it's helping folks, which is, after all, the goal. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 15, 2016 at 16:27

2 Answers 2


Working from the rules listed here it seems as though no.

I'll run through my train of thought on this.

As listed in Casting time:

  • A spell that takes 1 round to cast is a full-round action. It comes into effect just before the beginning of your turn in the round after you began casting the spell. You then act normally after the spell is completed.
  • When you begin a spell that takes 1 round or longer to cast, you must continue the concentration from the current round to ... the next round (at least). If you lose concentration before the casting is complete, you lose the spell.

And from the Concentration subheading under Duration:

  • You can't cast a spell while concentrating on another one. Some spells last for a short time after you cease concentrating.

Because Summon Monster has a casting time of 1 round, it seems to me that you would have to interrupt concentration in order to cast force sphere, and thus lose the casting of Summon Monster.


Your person in question is right: You can cast emergency force sphere while in the midst of casting summon monster.

First, there's nothing in the text of emergency force sphere that explicitly forbids it.

There's also nothing in the text describing actions that forbids the use of an immediate action during another action. According to the description of immediate actions, "an immediate action can be performed at any time — even if it's not your turn," and "You cannot use another immediate action or a swift action until after your next turn if you have used an immediate action when it is not currently your turn... You also cannot use an immediate action if you are flat-footed." That seems to be the entire extent of the rules governing when immediate actions cannot be used. There's no prohibition there against using immediate actions while casting another spell.

Immediate actions are based on swift actions; The text describing those explicitly mentions that swift actions can be used to cast spells, and there's nothing there about that being impossible when you're already casting a different spell. There's also the line "You can take a swift action anytime you would normally be allowed to take a free action."

It sounds like the section on free actions us the next place we should look... And it seems there's nothing prohibiting those during another action, either. In fact, looking at the description of Action Types, there's even this line: "You can perform one or more free actions while taking another action normally." So there's explicit rule support for taking a free action while taking another action - and therefore support for taking a swift or immediate action in the same circumstances.

You did mention that concentration is necessary for spellcasting, and you're right about that; It's mentioned here that "If you start casting a spell but something interferes with your concentration, you must make a concentration check or lose the spell." However, the list of circumstances that force you to make concentration checks does not include "casting a spell" - in fact, there's nothing even comparable in the table.

In the absence of any evidence that casting a spell as an immediate action interferes with any other spell you might happen to be casting at the same time, I have to say that the RAW supports your friend.

Oh, and you describe Pathfinder as being a "rules-can" game, meaning that it only lets you do something if that something is explicitly permitted by the rules. You are wrong about this. Things the rules do not expressly permit include writing mundane text using writing materials from the equipment lists, donning and doffing non-armour clothing, and overloading a rowboat until it sinks. All of these things, and more, are permitted. The Pathfinder is neither a rules-can game nor a rules-can't game; Like most role-playing games, it's "rules-incomplete."

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    \$\begingroup\$ Actions don't really have much of a say in this. The question is whether you can cast a spell while concentrating on another. There's no listing for DC for maintaining concentration while casting because it's not something you can do. \$\endgroup\$
    – UrhoKarila
    Commented Apr 15, 2016 at 4:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ A creature possessing a language and capable of speech can normally off-turn take a free action to speak, therefore he can take other off-turn free actions simultaneously, therefore he can take a swift (not just immediate) action off-turn. (I call it the Scooby-doo Rule; you don't have to.) While technically rules-legal, this creates a big, steaming pile of timing arguments. In my opinion, it's better to decrease the options of creatures that can speak (or, in this case, that have taken a 1-round or longer action) instead of punishing those who can't (or, likewise, haven't). \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 15, 2016 at 18:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan That's interesting, but I don't see how the special case of talking-is-a-free-action-you-can-take-out-of-turn is relevant to this answer. I may have missed an important part of your argument - Could you perhaps break it down for me? \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Commented Apr 18, 2016 at 0:15

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