Spell-like ability guidelines

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demoss
Player's Companion BackerDwimmermount Backer
Joined: 2012-02-04 10:44
Spell-like ability guidelines

Two questions:
SPELL LEVELS AND CLASS LEVELS
P. 97 says: "Spell-like abilities other than detection and divination should generally not appear as a class power at a level of experience lower than the spell’s level."
I read this as saying that if a full mage or cleric (priestess?) gets access to the spell at level X at earliest, that's the level the spell-like ability should be gained as well.
The other reading I can see is that spell level == class level at which the ability is gained. The text could be taken either way.
Warlock's ability to Summon Infernal Creature at level 10 (instead of level 11 as Arcane 6 would imply for a Mage) doesn't exactly match my reading, but is closer than the second alternative.
Gnomes, however, get access to several spell-like abilities at level 1, which according to either interpretation should be delayed till later levels: Mirror Image and Phantasmal Force are level 2 arcane spells, and so according to my reading should not be available until class level 3. Similarly Chimerical Force as a level 3 spell should be delayed till class level 5.
Or alternatively, if the guideline is meant to be spell level == class level at which it becomes available (which seems rather generous to me) those would still be level 2 and 3 abilities correspondingly, not level 1 abilities.
Do I completely miss the meaning of the guideline, or are gnomes a special case where shifting similar to Warlock's Summon Infernal Creature 11 --> 10 has been done across the board?
SPELL-LIKE ABILITIES AND CASTER LEVELS
How is the caster level of a spell-like ability determined? (For eg. Gnomes this is currently specified to be based on their class level, but the Custom Class rules are silent on how this works in general.)
Ability to spit a Fireball once per day with constant caster level of 1 is pretty weak thing, but one where caster level is your class level + 2 is something else...

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

Great questions. Answers.
1. The general guideline I intended was that you should't get 2nd level spells sooner than 2nd level, 3rd level spell-like abilities sooner than 3rd level, and so on.
2. The general guidelines are overruled in specific cases. The gnome trickster doesn't follow them. I do believe all the other classes meet this fairly lax requirement.
3. Spell-like abilities are always performed at your class level. I'll make this explicit in the rulebook.

Tywyll
Patreon SupporterPlayer's Companion BackerDwimmermount BackerDomains At War ContributorLairs And Encounters BackerBarbarian Conquerors of Kanahu BackerACKS Heroic Fantasy Handbook Backer
Joined: 2012-02-06 14:12

How would you handle permanent magical abilities if one wanted those? Is that just a 'wag' it sort of deal? I'm thinking of abilities like pass without trace which is also a spell.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

That's tough to say. I priced the Thrassian's flying as 5 class powers, and that was weaker than the 3rd level flying spell.
If you charge a number of class powers equal to two or three times the spell level, and then tweak from there, you probably are in a reasonable ballpark.

Tywyll
Patreon SupporterPlayer's Companion BackerDwimmermount BackerDomains At War ContributorLairs And Encounters BackerBarbarian Conquerors of Kanahu BackerACKS Heroic Fantasy Handbook Backer
Joined: 2012-02-06 14:12

Cool. I think there should be some price reduction based on when you get it. Fly from level one is super potent. Fly at level ten...still good but not five points of good I'd say.