What Are Epic Spells?
Epic spells are spells developed from the ground up using a list of magical ingredients called seeds. Despite their power, epic spells still follow the basic rules for casting spells, except as specifically noted otherwise. Epic casters can manipulate the seeds of true magic, but knowing the seeds and how to manipulate them does not instantly grant ultimate power. Each epic spell must be laboriously developed before it can be used.
Acquiring Epic Spells
A character with the Epic Spellcasting feat may start acquiring epic spells immediately. Using epic spells is a two-step procedure: development and spellcasting.
Epic Spell Development
Before it can be cast, an epic spell must be developed. The process of development can be a time-consuming and expensive process. It is during development that a caster determines whether a given epic spell lies within his or her abilities or beyond them. The basis of that determination lies in an epic spell’s Spellcraft DC.
The easiest way to develop an epic spell is to use one already given. The description of each of these unique spells gives the amount of gold, time, and experience points required to develop the spell. If a character pays a spell’s development cost, he or she develops (and thus knows) that spell.
For information on developing an epic spell completely from scratch, see Developing Unique Epic Spells.
Once an epic spell is developed, the caster knows the spell. A developed epic spell becomes an indelible part of the caster and may be prepared without a spellbook (if a wizard is the caster). Characters who cast spells spontaneously, such as sorcerers, can cast a developed epic spell by using any open epic spell slot. Druids, clerics, and similar spellcasters can likewise prepare epic spells using epic spell slots.
A spellcaster can prepare or cast any epic spell he or she knows as many times per day as he or she has available epic spell slots. A spellcaster who can cast epic spells has a number of open epic spell slots per day equal to one-tenth his or her ranks in the Knowledge skill appropriate to the spell and the caster’s class. Knowledge (arcana) is appropriate for arcane casters, and Knowledge (religion) or Knowledge (nature) is appropriate for divine casters. The rules for rest between casting a day’s allotment of epic spells are the same as for rest required to prepare standard spells. If the caster doesn’t use up a day’s allotment of epic spell slots, the unused slots remain available whether or not the spellcaster receives appropriate rest.
Even if the epic spell has been developed and an epic spell slot is available, successfully casting an epic spell isn’t assured. The caster’s Spellcraft skill modifier is vital for casting an epic spell. To cast an epic spell, a spellcaster makes a Spellcraft check against the epic spell’s Spellcraft DC. If the check succeeds, the spell is cast. If the caster fails the check, the epic spell fizzles and the epic spell slot is used for the day.
Because epic spells require Spellcraft checks, a spell is beyond the caster’s ability if the final Spellcraft DC is greater than 20 + the spellcaster’s Spellcraft modifier. Epic spells with DCs higher than 10 + the spellcaster’s Spellcraft modifier are risky; a caster can take 10 when casting an epic spell, but he or she can’t take 20. When routinely casting epic spells, most spellcasters take 10 on their Spellcraft checks.
Epic Spell Levels: Epic spells have no fixed level. However, for purposes of Concentration checks, spell resistance, and other possible situations where spell level is important, epic spells are all treated as if they were 10th-level spells.
Metamagic, Items, and Epic Spells: Metamagic feats and other epic feats that manipulate normal spells cannot be used with epic spells.
A character can’t craft a magic item that casts an epic spell, regardless of whether the item is activated with spell completion, a spell trigger, a command word, or simple use. Only major artifacts, which are beyond the means of even epic characters to create, can possibly contain magic of this power.
The saving throw against a character’s epic spell has a DC of 20 + the character’s relevant ability score modifier. It’s possible to develop epic spells that have even higher DCs, however, by applying the appropriate factor.
Epic Spell Terms
Epic Spell: Spells that are different from common spells. Epic spells are usually custom-made. Epic spells do not take up normal spell slots, but instead are gained and used under a completely separate progression.
Epic Spell Slots: A character must have an available epic spell slot to prepare or cast an epic spell, just as he or she needs a normal spell slot for a nonepic spell. A character doesn’t gain epic spell slots by virtue of his or her level and class, however. A character gets one epic spell slot for every 10 ranks he or she has in the relevant Knowledge skill.
Factor: When creating an epic spell, a character can modify the basic use of a seed. Each modification is called a factor, and most factors increase the difficulty of casting the spell.
Mitigating Factor: The opposite of a normal factor, a mitigating factor modifies the spell but makes it easier to cast.
Seed: Every custom epic spell created by spellcasters begins with a base effect called a seed. Seeds are the fundamental building blocks of epic spells.
Spellcraft DC: For epic spells, the Spellcraft DC is a measure of how difficult the spell is for a spellcaster to cast. It also measures how powerful an epic spell is.
Epic Spell Formulas and Calculations
The following formulas are important to epic spellcasters.
Epic Spells Per Day: Knowledge (arcana), Knowledge (religion), or Knowledge (nature) ranks ÷ 10 (round down).
To Cast an Epic Spell: Spellcraft check (DC = epic spell’s Spellcraft DC).
Level of an Epic Spell: Epic spells are considered 10th level for the purpose of Concentration checks, spell resistance, and other determinations.
Saving Throw for an Epic Spell: DC = 20 + key ability modifier.
Dispelling, Epic Spells, and Antimagic Field
A lucky nonepic spellcaster casting greater dispel magic might be able to dispel an epic spell. The game mechanics do not change, and epic spells do not occupy any privileged position allowing them to resist being dispelled other than their presumably high caster level. Likewise, epic spells using the dispel seed can dispel nonepic spells. Such epic spells use the same game mechanic: The check to dispel is 1d20 + a specified number (usually dispeller’s level), and the DC is 11 + the spellcaster’s level.
Antimagic field does not automatically suppress epic spells as it does standard spells. Instead, each time an epic spell is subject to an antimagic field, make a dispel check as a 20th-level caster (1d20 + 20). The epic spell has a DC of 11 + the epic spell’s spellcaster level. If the suppression check is successful, the epic spell is suppressed like any other spell. If the dispel check is unsuccessful, the epic spell functions normally.
Epic Spell Descriptions
Each epic spell description follows the same format used for 0- to 9th-level spells. There are two additional entries for epic spells: Spellcraft DC and To Develop.
Spellcraft DC: This is the DC of the Spellcraft check required to cast the epic spell. When casting an epic spell, the character gains a +5 bonus on his or her Spellcraft check if the base seed of the epic spell is from the character’s arcane school specialty or primary psionic discipline. The character takes a –15 penalty if the epic spell seed is from his or her prohibited arcane school.
To Develop: The first part of this entry shows the resources in gold, time, and experience points a character must expend to develop the spell shown. If the character expends the resources, he or she develops the spell if he or she has access to all the seeds. Spells containing the life or heal seed are typically only available to those with 24 or more ranks in Knowledge (religion) or Knowledge (nature). The rest of the development entry details the seeds and factors used to create the epic spell. This information is provided as an example for characters when they attempt to create and develop their own unique epic spells.