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I had a new player recently ask a question that I wasn't able to provide concrete backup for my answer, only how I always have interpreted it. It was in regards to spells that do some die roll +CL based values. These frequently have a maximum value in parenthesis after this. Example that spurred this, the spell Regenerate

Regenerate also cures 4d8 points of damage + 1 point per caster level (maximum +35), rids the subject of exhaustion and fatigue, and eliminates all nonlethal damage the subject has taken. It has no effect on nonliving creatures (including undead).

The question specifically is about the (maximum +35). The max that it states, is that the max for just the CL based additional value, or is the max for the spell as a whole including the die based values? I have always interpreted it as that is the max the CL based value can add to the spell, after rolling the die based value. I have always done it that way, but I honestly can't remember if I read that somewhere and don't recal, or if I just assumed that was how it was done.

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Your interpretation is correct. The value in parentheses is the maximum CL bonus added onto the spell, not the maximum amount of Healing the spell can do.

That is a strange example as there aren't many beings in the universe of Pathfinder that have a caster level above 35, but that may be to compensate for feats and items that boost your effective caster level.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I agree, but that may be why the player asked about that one specifically, because it's high enough it could theoretically cover both the roll and a CL bonus. That may be why he brought that one up to me, but that's just an educated guess. \$\endgroup\$
    – Omnitus
    Sep 22, 2016 at 19:58
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It is the maximum value of the CL based addition. It generally caps out at above 20 to account for epic levels (many spells were ported over directly from 3.5) and various feats and class/racial features that increase effective caster level. You can see this question for a partial list.

4d8 points of damage + 1 point per caster level (maximum +35)

The wording of the spells is always '+value' and this value is what you add to the basic damage/healing of the spell.

Where the value is capped in total it will specify, for example in the spell Heal.

It also cures 10 hit points of damage per level of the caster, to a maximum of 150 points at 15th level.

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