Spell Rarity

Back to House Rules

All spells have a rarity rating: Common, Rare, or Unique.

Common spells are generally well-known, at least in theory, to all spellcasters, at least their existence. All spells in the Pathfinder Core Rulebook are common.

Rare spells reflect effects that are not normally seen, divine powers not normally granted, or have highly specialized effects. In general, most spellcasters are unfamiliar with a specific rare spell until it is actually seen in use (or described in detail by a witness). Unless noted elsewhere, all spells from the Advanced Player’s Guide are rare. They are hard to find in scroll form and tend to be expensive. Spells specific to a faith that is from other sources than the Advanced Player Guide may be considered Rare with GM permission.

Unique spells reflect the fruits of independent spell research, whether arcane or divine. Such spells are generally known only to the individual creator, or to a tight cabal of individuals who have learned the spell directly from the creator. Once a unique spell is learned beyond that cabal and makes its way into the magical community, it is considered rare instead. Unless noted elsewhere, any spell published in any other official Paizo supplement (other than the Core Rulebook or APG) should be considered unique. Those who are in possession of such spells are normally jealous guardians of this knowledge and work hard to ensure that what knowledge is leaked is tightly controlled or their new possessors eliminated.

Spellcraft or knowledge checks to identify common spells or their effects have normal DC. The DC to identify an unfamiliar rare spell is 5 higher, and that of a unique spell is 10 higher. Dispelling or counterspelling rare or unique spells is otherwise normal.

Spell rarity and gaining new spells:

Casters can, during periods of downtime, pursue spell research, the steps for spell research each day are as follows.

- Pay 100 gp × the spell’s level for research costs and rare ingredients. You may spend GM approved Goods or Magic toward this cost. Unique spells add an additional 50% cost.
- Determine the total days of progress required to complete the research, which is 5 x the spell level for Common Spells 7 × the spell level for Rare Spells, 10 x the spell level for Unique Spells
- Determine the spell research DC, which is 10 + double the spell level for common spells, triple the spell’s level for rare spells, for unique spells its quadruple the spell level.
- Attempt a Spellcraft check and a Knowledge check (arcana for an arcane spell, religion for a divine spell) against the spell research DC. You can’t take 10 on these checks. You may use Research or Arcane libraries to assist, adding 2 to your total. A colleague may also attempt to aid another, though they must first make the checks above, to grant an additional + 2. If both checks succeed, you make 1 day’s progress toward completing the spell. When your days of progress equal the total number of days needed, the spell is completed and added to your spellbook or list of spells known.

If either or both spell research checks fail by 4 or less, you make no progress. For each check that fails by 5 or more, your research has led to poor results and you lose a day of progress toward completing the spell.

Alternatively instead of gaining two new spells on leveling, the caster may choose a single rare spell instead if that is applicable to the class (Sorcerers, Oracles and Inquisitors for instance do not have this option).

Learning a rare spell via scroll or some other means incurs a + 2 to the DC to learn the spell and + 5 to the DC if the spell is unique.

Spell Rarity

Helaman's Play By Post Carrion Crown Helaman