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Chapter 10: Magic and Spells / Casting Spells

The Spell's Result

Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 331
For details about a spell’s range, targets, and other mechanical details, see the spell descriptions on pages 340–385, where the details of Starfinder’s spells are presented. Once you know which creatures (or objects or areas) are affected, and whether they have succeeded at their saving throws (if any were allowed), you can apply whatever results a spell entails. Spell effects tend to vary by school, which are also described in School and Descriptor on page 333.

Many common spell effects are described in Defining Effects beginning on page 268.


Some spell descriptions refer to attacking. All offensive combat actions, even those that don’t damage opponents, are considered attacks. Anytime you would need to make an attack roll to determine whether your spell hits a target, you are considered to be making an attack.

Even an effect that is inoffensive or beneficial to some affected creatures still counts as an attack if it would be considered offensive to any affected creature. Spells that deal damage, spells that opponents can resist with saving throws (and that are not harmless), and spells that otherwise harm or hamper subjects are attacks.

Bringing Back The Dead

Magic and technology can restore slain characters to life. Bringing someone back from the dead involves magically retrieving his soul and returning it to his body.

Negative Levels: Any creature brought back to life by raise dead usually gains 2 permanent negative levels (see page 252 for more information on how negative levels work). These levels apply a penalty to most rolls until removed through spells such as restoration.

There is an exception to this rule, though. If the character was 1st or 2nd level (or CR 2 or less for a monster) at the time of death, instead of gaining negative levels, the character’s Constitution score is permanently reduced by 2 (or its Constitution modifier is permanently reduced by 1 for a monster).

Preventing Revivification: Enemies can take steps to make it more difficult for a character to be returned from the dead using normal magical means. Keeping the body of a deceased individual, for instance, prevents others from using raise dead to restore the slain character to life. Additionally, finding a way to capture the slain creature’s soul prevents any sort of revivification unless the soul is first released, since raise dead and similar magic works by returning the deceased individual’s soul to his body.

Revivification against One’s Will: A soul can’t be returned to life if it doesn’t wish to be. A soul automatically knows the alignment and patron deity (if any) of the character attempting to revive it, which may be a reason it refuses to return.