Jump to content

Spell schools for spell-like abilities?

Recommended Posts

I recently noticed that several spell-like abilities don't have a spell school assigned to them. For example: TRAP_DIRE_CHARM, SUCCUBUS_CHARM_FEMALE and SUCCUBUS_CHARM_MALE do not belong to the Enchantment school and are thus not stopped by Spell Immunity:Enchantment. On the other hand, BEHOLDER_CHARM_PERSON, BEHOLDER_DOMINATION and VAMPIRE_DOMINATION are flagged as Enchantment spells and can be stopped by SI:Enchantment.


As you can see, this is a bit inconsistent, but to tell the truth, I have no idea what the developer intent was here and I'm not 100% sure how spell-like abilities are supposed to be treated in 2E AD&D. I know that in 3.5E D&D, they pretty much mimic the effect of spells of the same name and I think (feel free to correct me here) that it is supposed to be the same in 2E except for the abilities being non-disruptable there:


Monsters with Spell-like Abilities


Many monsters have the innate ability to use certain spells simply by an act of will. Most extraplanar monsters have an array of spell like powers as formidable as the spell arsenal of a high level wizard or priest, sylvan creatures such as dryads or brownies can charm or confuse their opponents, and even dragons have a handful of spell like abilities based on their color and age. In fact, any monster that can use spell effects without an equivalent wizard or priest character level falls into this category.


Spell like abilities are invoked by one round of concentration; the monster can do nothing else in that round except use a single power, just like a wizard or priest may only cast one spell per round. All spell like abilities have an initiative modifier of +3, or fast under Player's Option: Combat & Tactics rules. Unlike a true spellcaster, a monster with spell like abilities can't be interrupted by damage or distraction-if the creature survives the injury, the power functions that round regardless. (However, if a monster has both spell like abilities and normal spells, any spells it actually casts can be interrupted.)


Unless otherwise stated in the monster's description, spell like abilities are considered to have an effective casting level equal to the monster's Hit Dice, or the minimum character level necessary to use its highest level ability, whichever is better. For example, a brownie has only half a Hit Die, but its spell like abilities include confusion and dimension door, which are 4th level wizard spells. Since a wizard must be at least 7th level to use 4th level spells, a brownie's spell like abilities function as if it were a 7th level caster. (Refer to Table 21: Wizard Spell Progression or Table 24: Priest Spell Progression in the Player's Handbook.) This affects range, damage, duration, and all other level based characteristics of a spell. A list of monsters from the Monstrous Manual tome with spell like abilities follows, along with their effective casting level. Only creatures that don't have a casting level noted are mentioned here in Table 7: Monster Casting Levels-you may want to note these in your copy of the book.


A creature with a spell like ability may choose to use it simply by concentrating for one round. If the power can be maintained, the monster doesn't need to concentrate to maintain it through the spell's normal duration; after that, the monster must spend a round reactivating the power. For example, a brownie's abilities include protection from evil, which has a duration of 2 rounds/level, or 14 rounds for a brownie. By invoking the power once, the brownie is affected by the spell for 13 more rounds, and it can then spend a round invoking the power again to be protected for another 14 rounds. This means that the monster may be able to invoke a power and then engage in physical attacks or take other actions while the power is active.


On the other hand, some spell like abilities require the caster's continuing attention while they're active, such as a phantasmal force or ventriloquism spell. Invoking the power takes only one round, as described above, but after that the monster must spend each round concentrating on the power and doing nothing else in order to maintain it. A monster with multiple spell like abilities can have any number of powers active at one time, as long as it spends one round invoking each and continues to concentrate on any powers that need its attention.


Restrictions: Generally, monsters with spell like abilities are free of any restrictions normally associated with those spells; a monster with wizard spells among its spell like abilities is not a wizard and may use any armor or weapons it cares to. Similarly, a monster with priest spells doesn't have the ability to turn undead or any granted powers specific to a certain priesthood. No components are necessary, but the DM may rule that a bound and gagged monster may not be able to invoke certain abilities.


Many monsters with spell like abilities may only make use of them a certain number of times per day; for example, a juvenile black dragon may use darkness three times per day, while a marilith tanar'ri may polymorph self up to seven times per day.


I thought that making spell-like abilities consistent in this regard might possibly make a nice addition to the Modder Pack. Anyone interested in discussing this?

Link to comment


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...