In Pathfinder 2e, if a 20th level caster fails to learn a spell, can they never try again?

On page 238 of the Core Rulebook, under "Learn a Spell", the rules state:

Failure You fail to learn the spell but can try again after you gain a level. The materials aren’t expended.

Since character level is capped at 20th, does this mean that a 20th level caster who fails to Learn a Spell can never try to learn that spell again?

Can spells with a verbal component be cast underwater if the caster can’t breathe water?

My party recently tipped over a boat of enemies into what was essentially rapids and trapped the enemies in a cube of force underwater. The warriors inevitably drowned as they had no way out. However, trapped in the cube of force was a wizard with access to a teleportation spell (Misty Step) with a verbal component. Could the wizard use his spell with a verbal component underwater and escape a watery death? If the rules don’t specify anything about verbal components underwater specifically, have any of the designers mentioned anything about this?

Note: as a 5e DM I made a ruling on the spot (decided to allow it on the condition that the caster goes directly from “holding breath” to “suffocating”) so I am aware that it’s within my power to decide how it works in my world. I’d just like to know if the rules or someone wiser than me has addressed this yet.

How to protect a Cha-based caster against Feeblemind?

Feeblemind requires an Int save: on a fail, the target’s Intelligence and Charisma are set to 1. This pretty much destroys any Int or Cha-based caster, but the fact that the latter have low Int (and are not proficient with Intelligence saving throws) makes them especially vulnerable.

What are some ways to handle this? The route I’ve taken with a Sorcerer concept is to start as a Rogue for my 1st level (for Int proficiency) and then go Sorcerer from 2nd level. Other ideas welcome.

My goal is to learn what options there are to prevent getting Feebleminded, be it at character creation, or a magical item, or… anything that helps resist it. E.g., it just occurred to me that, while expensive, L9 Globe of Invulnerability will prevent it (and duration could be doubled for 1 sorc point).

Is a caster of Gentle Repose aware that a creature under the effects of Feign Death is an invalid target?

Alice (a wizard) & Bob (class unspecified), are planning an elaborate prank on Carol (a cleric). Alice casts Feign Death on Bob, and then wails about how he has been slain by a horrible monster/curse/whatever. Carol, who is, for some reason, friends with these jerks, comes running. Carol does not routinely prepare resurrection spells; instead, she casts Gentle Repose on Bob to preserve him for tomorrow, when she will prepare an appropriate spell to bring him back to life.

Is Carol aware that Bob is not a valid target for the Gentle Repose spell (since he isn’t actually dead), either before or after attempting to cast the spell?

From the PHB, p140:

Feign Death

You touch a willing creature and put it into a cataleptic state that is indistinguishable from death. For the spell’s duration… the target appears dead to all outward inspection and to spells used to determine the target’s status. ….

From the PHB, p215:

Gentle Repose

You touch a corpse or other remains. For the duration, the target is protected from decay and can’t become undead. …

Does the feat War Caster give you advantage on a constitution saving throw made because of Sleet Storm?

One of the benefits of War Caster is:

You have advantage on Constitution saving throws that you make to maintain your concentration on a spell when you take damage.

The spell Sleet Storm doesn’t deal damage, but the game designers still wanted it to make characters in the AOE make a CON save to keep Concentration. So it states:

If a creature is concentrating in the spell’s area, the creature must make a successful Constitution saving throw against your spell save DC or lose Concentration.

I definitely don’t think this is an intended interaction, but RAW, shouldn’t War Caster be useless for this since it says "when you take damage", and Sleet Storm is not a damage dealing spell?

Does casting a Subtle Spell count as surprising a target if target does not know you are caster?

I understand you can’t Sneak Attack with spells, something to do that both abilities scale thus game breaking. So that takes away one aspect of my predicament. However the Assassinate ability still gives Advantage over lower initiative targets, and according to Can an Assassin use Assassinate with ranged spell attacks?, an assassin with surprise will auto-crit with a spell.

If you have the Subtle Spell metamagic, can you still Auto-Crit with a spell attack after the start of the encounter if the target doesn’t know you’re a spellcaster? Does casting a Subtle Spell count as surprising a target if target does not know you are spellcaster?

For example: as an Assassin 3/Sorcerer 3, at start of encounter I shoot a target with a light crossbow and Hex spell, dealing 1d8+2 damage. Target has yet to see if I or any of my allies is caster. Next round I use Chill Touch at same target. Do I auto-crit and roll 2d8 cold damage +2d6?

Can a caster use a readied spell to counterspell a lower (less potent) version of the same spell?

I have a scenario that will likely never happen, but I am curious in how it would work.

First, the preliminary, Combining Magical Effects:

The effects of different spells add together while the durations of those spells overlap. The effects of the same spell cast multiple times don’t combine, however. Instead, the most potent effect — such as the highest bonus — from those castings applies while their durations overlap, or the most recent effect applies if the castings are equally potent and their durations overlap.

Now the setup:

Bob the 3nd-level Generic Wizard and Doug the 3rd-level Earth Wizard face off. Bob knows Doug’s favorite tactic and readies a spell. Doug casts Earth Tremor under Bob. The spell say, "You cause a tremor in the ground within range. Each creature other than you in that area must make a Dexterity saving throw."

But Bob was ready and casts Earth Tremor as a 2nd-level spell for his reaction making it more potent (more damage) in the same area.

So what happens?

Doug’s casting means Doug is not targeted by the tremor. But as a reaction Bob casts a more powerful version where Bob is not targeted by the spell. So does that overpower Doug’s spell? And if so, does that mean Bob no longer has to make a Dexterity save and Doug does?

There may be other spells that do this but Earth Tremor was the first I found with wording stating that regardless of the target point, the caster is not affected.

Does counterspell require seeing the casting or the caster?


Casting Time: 1 reaction, which you take when you see a creature within 60 feet of you casting a spell

What does "you see" refer to, the creature or the casting of a spell? In other words, can you Counterspell for example, if you hear a creature within 60 feet of you casting a spell, and see the creature?

Example: You are behind someone with full-face helmet, and they cast a verbal-only spell at someone else in front of them. Can you Counterspell?

Can a Tiefling Monk access the Enlightened Fist PrC without dipping into a caster class?

Enlightened Fist has as a prerrequisite:

Spells or Spell-Like Abilities: Arcane caster level 3rd.

A Tiefling has Darkness as a spell-like ability with a caster level equal to its character level. Unless I’m reading the prerrequisite wrong, a 3rd level or higher Tiefling could acces the PrC as long as he accomplishes the other prerrequisites (quite easily being a Monk), however, the spellcasting class feature reads like this:

Spells per Day/Spells Known: Except at 1st level and 6th level, an enlightened fist gains new spells per day (and spells known, if applicable) as if she had also gained a level in an arcane spellcasting class to which she belonged before adding the prestige class level. She does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained (such as the bonus feat sometimes gained by a wizard). If she had more than one arcane spellcasting class before becoming an enlightened fist, she must decide to which class to add each level for the purpose of determining spells per day and spells known.

implying that he MUST have some levels in a caster class, and even if it didn’t, a monk-only would have no list from where to draw spells, so… Can someone confirm if this is possible or not?

What happens when a caster targets an object that looks like a creature with a spell that targets only creatures?

There are many spells which explicitly target creatures:

Choose one creature within range

The target creature is normally supposed to make a saving throw in this case.

What happens when the caster chooses a creature, that is actually an object? For instance, a scarecrow, a mannequin, an illusion, or a corpse.


  • An evil mage is hiding in the bushes. He casts an illusion of himself on the road, using the Silent Image spell. A PC sorcerer walks down the road, sees the illusion and casts Magic Missile on it.

  • A cleric is standing near a pile of dead bodies. He has suspicions that a few corpses are actually undead creatures. He casts Sacred Flame on every corpse, see which if them succeed, hence, reveals the undead.

  • A wizard casts Acid Splash on a mannequin, trying to damage it with acid.

Possible outcomes I can think of are:

  1. The caster cannot even try to cast the spell, regardless of their information about what the target actually is.
  2. The caster tries to cast the spell, the casting fails, not expending the spell slot.
  3. The caster casts the spell, it expends the spell slot, then fails.
  4. The caster casts the spell, but it hits the original and not the illusion.
  5. The caster casts the spell, it flies to the target illusion but deals no damage to it (passes through it).

References in the rules and Sage advice

I was trying to investigate, but it didn’t make things clearer:

  • Does magic missile hit silent image's illusory creature? has an answer, that Magic Missile won’t hit. It says nothing about if it can be targeted at all, it leaves it up to the DM.

  • Magic Missile automatically finds the original, even when the caster targets an illusion. At least when the illusion was created by the Mirror Image spell. Now confirmed by Jeremy Crawford. This supports the counter-intuitive option 4.

on the other hand

  • Casters don’t automatically know when a spell fails, if there were no perceivable effects (let’s say you can try to cast the Command spell on an illusion). That assumes that casters can waste their spells on illusion, which means they at least can target it. This supports options 3 and 5.