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Rogue Genius Games created a neat Pathfinder class called Witch Hunter (link). This class gains the following ability at 1st level:

Spellbane (Su)

At 5th level the witch hunter can attempt to use the spellbane power as a standard action. The witch hunter makes a melee touch attack. If it is successful, the target is affected by the spellbane and this counts as a successful use of the ability. Spellbane functions as the targeted dispel ability of the dispel magic spell. A witch hunter may have a number of successful uses of spellbane per day equal to 3 + his Wisdom modifier.

I want to understand this in detail. My question is essentially, "Is this correct? Are there any gaps in my understanding of it?"

As far as I understand it...

"The witch hunter makes a melee touch attack"

  • This attack must be directed at one of the following:

    • If removing a spell (e.g. a buff or curse) that is active on a spellcaster, creature or object, the attack must target that spellcaster, creature or object.
    • If removing a spell effect due to a magical item (e.g. Belt of Giant's Strength), the attack must target the magical item -- not just the creature wearing/using the item.
    • If removing a summoned creature, the attack must target that creature.
    • If removing somthing else (e.g. the vegetative matter controlled by Entangle), it must target that vegetative matter.
  • The melee touch attack can be made in any of the following ways:

    • A part of the witch hunter's body (unarmed -- e.g. their hand)
    • Via a melee weapon (e.g. a battle-axe)
    • [Any others??]
  • If grappling, the melee touch attack automatically succeeds.

  • The spell effect must be active at the time of using Spellbane:

    • For instantaneous spells (e.g. Fireball), the spell has already completed, so it cannot be targeted (barring some sort of out-of-turn interrupt ability, which isn't part of Pathfinder). ("What's done is done.")
    • Instantaneous conjuration spells (e.g. Wall of Stone or Create Water) have already been completed, so their products are mundane: thus there is nothing to dispel.

"If it is successful...this counts as a successful use of the ability."

  • If the melee touch attack succeeds, it counts as a successful use of the Spellbane ability, regardless of any subsequent rolls/results/effects.

"Spellbane functions as the targeted dispel ability of the dispel magic spell."

From the description of the Dispel Magic spell:

Targeted Dispel: One object, creature, or spell is the target of the dispel magic spell. You make one dispel check (1d20 + your caster level) and compare that to the spell with highest caster level (DC = 11 + the spell's caster level). If successful, that spell ends. If not, compare the same result to the spell with the next highest caster level. Repeat this process until you have dispelled one spell affecting the target, or you have failed to dispel every spell.

  • The fact that it's being used via Spellbane doesn't guarantee success. As with all uses of Dispel Magic, the witch hunter would need to make a dispel check as described under that spell.
  • If dispelling a spell cast by the witch hunter, that witch hunter automatically succeeds on the dispel check.
  • As with Dispel Magic, Spellbane dispels at most one spell, but might not dispel anything if the dispel check was not high enough.

  • In the case where multiple things are summoned:

    • A successful use of Spellbane by touching an entangling root (for example; created by Entangle) and making the dispel check would dispel not just the one touched root, but all roots created by that casting of Entangle.
    • If a spellcaster summons a group of creatures (e.g. two eagles via Summon Nature's Ally), and a witch hunter uses Spellbane on one of them, then the summoning spell is broken and all the creatures summoned by that spell are removed from play.

My question: is this correct?

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closed as too broad by ShadowKras, Sh4d0wsPlyr, Oblivious Sage, Pyrotechnical, Thomas Jacobs May 2 '17 at 22:13

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Unless the witch hunter gets something like the Magus' spellstrike, it can't be delivered through a weapon, it's gotta be your hand (and touching anything else will discharge the "spell") \$\endgroup\$ – Delioth Nov 11 '16 at 21:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ There are a lot of questions there, some are correct, some aren't ("If grappling, the melee touch attack automatically succeeds." this is only valid for spell touch). You would do good to split this between different questions. \$\endgroup\$ – ShadowKras May 2 '17 at 17:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ShadowKras: What do you have in mind? How would you split it up? \$\endgroup\$ – jvriesem May 2 '17 at 17:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ You should focus on what is ambiguous or you have doubt about how it works. Right now the question is: "Is this list of interpreted rules correct? yes/no" If i answer yes, then there isn't much else to add to the answer. If i answer no, then i will have to quote everything that isn't correct and explain why. \$\endgroup\$ – ShadowKras May 2 '17 at 17:35
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The answer here is really as simple as the rule states it. The ability is a melee touch attack (Touch attack rules apply) and on a successful hit, "Dispel magic" is triggered and its effects affect the item or monster the witch hunter touched. Since "Dispel Magic" is a single target spell, the Witch can Spellbane whatever she likes, as long as it can be touched and is a valid target for "Dispel Magic".

This attack must be directed at one of the following:

as far as I can see, the cases you listed are correct; however, you can just directly refer to the description of the "Dispel Magic" spell, as all targets that are valid targets in that context are valid for Spellbane as well, unless an otherwise valid target for "Dispel Magic" cannot be touched.

The melee touch attack can be made in any of the following ways:

  • A part of the witch hunter's body (unarmed -- e.g. their hand)
  • Via a melee weapon (e.g. a battle-axe)
  • [Any others??]

There is nothing in the RAW that directly refers to how a touch attack is supposed to be made nor does the Range: Touch tell. However, as with many spells that require a successful touch attack to activate, the touch attack must usually be made by your bare, uncovered hands (meaning Unarmed, and not wearing gloves, as this is a common spellcaster restriction - otherwise, you get penalties or are not able to cast the spell at all), unless this is a specific class feature like a Magus' Spellstrike. The rules for Spellbane also state that it must be a melee touch attack, so your character really has to physically touch the target (and must also be able to - incorporeal entities, for example, usually cannot be touched).

If grappling, the melee touch attack automatically succeeds.

RAW:

Holding the Charge: If you don't discharge the spell in the round when you cast the spell, you can hold the charge indefinitely. You can continue to make touch attacks round after round. If you touch anything or anyone while holding a charge, even unintentionally, the spell discharges.

However, I am not sure if this could apply here, as "Dispel Magic" is originally not a touch attack spell, but that's the only mention of it in the RAW. You might have to ask your DM.

"If it [the touch attack] is successful [...] this counts as a successful use of the ability."

  • If the melee touch attack succeeds, it counts as a successful use of the Spellbane ability, regardless of [the success or failure of] any subsequent rolls/results/effects.

You answer this yourself: There is one subsequent check/roll, which you see in your own next paragraph: As Spellbane functions as a targeted dispel spell, a Dispel Magic check must be performed according to the rules of Dispel Magic, which you quoted yourself. The cases you mentioned below are all correct, as far as I can tell and find in the RAW.

As an aside:

This interpretation would make dispelling barriers impossible, as they cannot be touched - at least not without taking damage. The exception here is something solid like "Wall of Earth"; however, if I remember correctly, a Wall of Stone cannot be dispelled, as the spell duration is instantaneous, and the Wall stays in place even after the spell ends.

I do not know how to handle dispelling barriers and such by touch attacks RAW, I think this might be a topic for another question.

I would rule - as a house rule - that you can dispel these by touching the ground beneath them (as long as they can be dispelled), but that's just my opinion. You might want to ask your DM.

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No. You are mostly correct, but...

This is incorrect:

If grappling, the melee touch attack automatically succeeds.

This is only valid for held charges and touch spells. The Spellbane uses a melee touch attack, but does not mention anything about holding charges, or mention charges at all. Meaning that if you miss this melee touch attack, the use of the ability is not spent, but you have to try again next round.

The spell effect must be active at the time of using Spellbane

The proper way to look at this is: It must have a duration (permanent or otherwise). This will already exclude all instantanous spell effects.

A successful use of Spellbane by touching an entangling root (for example; created by Entangle) and making the dispel check would dispel not just the one touched root, but all roots created by that casting of Entangle.

Entangle creates a single spell effect on the area, not multiple spell effects. Otherwise you are correct.

Additional notes:

If a spellcaster summons a group of creatures (e.g. two eagles via Summon Nature's Ally), and a witch hunter uses Spellbane on one of them, then the summoning spell is broken and all the creatures summoned by that spell are removed from play.

Yes, this is a fairly common question, but all creatures summoned from the same spell are dispelled.

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