I want to play a coldborn (werebear-kin skinwalker) hunter and need some clarification on one of the rules. The way I understand the racial bonuses for skinwalkers is that one of their stats is increased and one is decreased (depending on the species chosen) while in human form and while "skinwalking" another stat is increased (depending again on the species chosen).

Witchwolves, coldborn, and fanglords use wisdom (or charisma in the case of fanglords) as their increased stat while skinwalking — how does this affect their spells per day? Would they get the extra spell at the start of the day or not? would they have access to higher spells and spell levels while not skinwalking or not (or would it even matter whether they are skinwalking or not)? The only solution I could think of is to just switch around the stat increase so that it doesn't affect spells but it seems like an actual answer should exist.

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    \$\begingroup\$ One question per post, please; you can ask your other question separately so it can get its own good answer without mixing things up. \$\endgroup\$ – user17995 Feb 15 '17 at 5:06

Until an ability score bonus—no matter the bonus's source—has been in place for 24 hours, the bonus is only a Temporary Bonus, and the bonus has a more limited effect than a permanent bonus. For example, a temporary bonus to Wisdom "gives you a bonus on Wisdom-based skill checks and Will saving throws[, and t]his bonus also applies to any spell DCs based on Wisdom." As its unmentioned as a feature of a temporary bonus, creature's spellcasting is unaffected by a temporary bonus.

After the ability score bonus has been in place for 24 hours, the bonus becomes a Permanent Bonus, and it's as though the creature's ability score had actually increased. Because a permanent bonus "[m]odif[ies] all skills and statistics related to that ability [and t]his might cause you to gain skill points, hit points, and other bonuses," the game recommends that such permanent bonuses "be noted separately in case they are removed." Like, y'know, when you decide to use again the special ability change shape. A creature's spellcasting is affected by a permanent bonus.

For example, Abe, a coldborn skinwalker cleric 7 that normally possesses Str 14, Dex 8, Con 18, Int 10, Wis 16, Cha 10 prepares his spells using his Wis 16 while in his normal form. Later that day, he uses the ability change shape to assume semiursine form, increasing his Wis to 18. Except for his spell's saving throw DCs, Abe's spellcasting is unaffected by this temporary bonus.

Abe decides to remain in his changed form for 24 hours. When he next prepares spells, he'll prepare spells as if his Wisdom were 18 because sufficient time has passed to turn the temporary bonus into a permanent bonus.

After having prepared spells in his changed form, Abe returns to his normal form, dropping his Wisdom back to 16. He keeps and is able to cast his prepared spells, but their efficacy is slightly reduced by his normal form's lower Wisdom.

That same day, Abe uses the ability change shape again to assume semiursine form again, restoring his Wisdom to 18. This is now again a temporary bonus, and it'll be 24 hours before Abe can prepare spells again using this higher Wisdom score.

  • \$\begingroup\$ When the skinwalker shifts back to the normal form, why would you make him loose immediately its spells? Can't you rule that he keeps them and just won't be able to prepare them the next day (as the bonus has become not permanent)? \$\endgroup\$ – Anne Aunyme Feb 15 '17 at 8:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AnneAunyme You're absolutely correct. Thank you. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Feb 15 '17 at 14:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ As for removing the bonus, you should note (with an asterisk or something) bonus spells granted from your stat increase, because that spell should be removed when that bonus is lost. If you have no idea which spell was it, you could randomize one prepared spell to be lost. \$\endgroup\$ – ShadowKras Feb 15 '17 at 17:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ Its no different from removing a Headband of Vast Intelligence. \$\endgroup\$ – ShadowKras Feb 15 '17 at 17:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ShadowKras Can you direct me to the spell loss rules? \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Feb 15 '17 at 17:07


If your ability score is increased by an effect that has a duration of longer than 24-hours, this increase can grant you additional spells as noted on Abilities Scores rules.

Normally, only Ability Drain can cause you to lose access to spell levels or spell slots (Touch of Idiocy being an exception). Ability damage and ability penalties will not retroactivelly change your character sheet, so you will not lose access to spells, skills or feats because of a lowered ability.

However, even permanent bonuses to Ability Scores will cause you to lose prepared spells or spell slots, because those additional bonuses are lost when the ability score bonus is removed:

Permanent Bonuses: Ability bonuses with a duration greater than 1 day actually increase the relevant ability score after 24 hours. Modify all skills and statistics as appropriate. This might cause you to gain skill points, hit points, and other bonuses. These bonuses should be noted separately in case they are removed.

On a similar topic, it is known that temporary bonus and permanent bonus are pretty much the same thing, being different only for the sake of being easier to rule during a game. Paizo's Creative Director, James Jacobs, has also stated that removing a permanent bonus should also remove it's benefits just like removing a temporary bonus, which includes prepared spells on bonus slots since those are granted by an increase on your spellcasting ability.

Example: You are a wizard with 13 int (yes they exist, check the NPC codex), and happen to find a Headband of Vast Intelligence (+2 int). After 24-hours, the bonus to your intelligence is now permanent, granting additional spell level access (now 5th, up from 3rd) and an additional spell slot for 2nd level spells.

But if this headband is removed, even after the effect has become a permanent bonus, you lose access to spells higher than 3rd level (4th and 5th, if your wizard level is high enough), and that bonus spell slot for 2nd level spells.


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