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Chapter 7: Spells

Casting Spells

Source Player Core pg. 299
The casting of a spell can range from a simple word of magical might that creates a fleeting effect to a complex process taking hours to cast and producing a long-term impact. Casting a spell requires the caster to make gestures and utter incantations, so being unable to speak prevents spellcasting for most casters. If your character has a long term disability that prevents or complicates them from speaking (as described in GM Core), work with the GM to determine an analogous way they cast their spells, such as tapping in code on their staff or whistling.

Spellcasting creates obvious sensory manifestations, such as bright lights, crackling sounds, and sharp smells from the gathering magic. Nearly all spells manifest a spell signature—a colorful, glowing ring of magical runes that appears in midair, typically around your hands, though what kind of spellcaster you are can affect this— academic wizards typically have neat and ordered spell signatures, while a druid's might be more organic and a cleric's might be inspired by their deity. How spellcasting looks can vary from one spellcasting tradition or class to another, or even from person to person. You have a great deal of freedom in flavoring your character's magic however you wish!

Spells can vary in how many actions they take, as shown in the spell's stat block. You cast cantrips, spells from spell slots, and focus spells using the same process, but must expend the spell when casting a spell from a spell slot and must spend 1 Focus Point to cast a focus spell. Some rules will refer to the Cast a Spell activity, such as “if the next action you use is to Cast a Spell.” Any spell qualifies as a Cast a Spell activity, and any characteristics of the spell use those of the specific spell you're casting.

Costs and Loci

Source Player Core pg. 300
Some spells require you to pay a cost or provide a locus. If the spell lists a cost, you must have the listed money, valuable materials, or other resources to cast the spell (such as gems or magical reagents), and they're expended during the casting.

A locus is an object that funnels or directs the magical energy of the spell but is not consumed in its casting. As part of Casting the Spell, you retrieve the locus (if necessary, and if you have a free hand), and you can put it away again if you so choose. Loci tend to be expensive, and you need to acquire them in advance to cast the spell, but they aren't expended like costs are. Unless noted otherwise, a locus has negligible Bulk.

Long Casting Times

Source Player Core pg. 300
Some spells take minutes or hours to cast. You can’t use other actions or reactions while casting such a spell, though at the GM’s discretion, you might be able to speak a few sentences. As with other activities that take a long time, these spells have the exploration trait, and you can’t cast them in an encounter. If combat breaks out while you’re casting one, your spell is disrupted (see Disrupted and Lost Spells below).

Disrupted and Lost Spells

Source Player Core pg. 300
Some abilities and spells can disrupt a spell, causing it to have no effect and be lost. When you lose a spell, you’ve already expended the spell slot and spent the spell’s costs and actions. If a spell is disrupted during a Sustain action, the spell immediately ends. The full rules for disrupting actions appear on page 415.