A spell is an activated magical effect produced directly by a creature without the use of items. Spells come in two types: arcane spells (cast by Bards, Sorcerers, and Wizards) and divine spells (cast by Clerics, Favored Souls, and experienced Paladins and Rangers). Some spellcasters select their spells from a limited list of spells known, while others have access to a wide variety of options.
Despite these different ways that characters use to learn or prepare their spells, when it comes to casting them, the spells are very much alike.
Whether a spell is arcane or divine, and whether a character prepares selected spells in advance from a larger list or knows a small list that is always completely prepared, casting a spell works the same way.
To cast a spell, you must be able to speak (if the spell has a verbal component), gesture freely (if it has a somatic component), and have the right material component in your inventory. (If the spell needs one.)
Casting a spell reduces your spell points, which do not regenerate on their own. You must return to the city or a tavern, or find a rest shrine, to regain your spell points. Alternatively, assets like an Elixir of Mnemonic Enhancement or the Cleric Enhancement Divine Vitality can partially restore spell points. Note that some classes posses Magical Training that gives them Echoes of Power, allowing very limited spell point regeneration after dropping below 12 sp.
Implementation in DDO
Eligible characters learn new spells automatically on level-up:
- Some classes, for example sorcerers, can select only a limited number of spells during each level-up.
- Some classes, for example wizards, can additionally expand their repertoire by inscribing new spells into their spell book.
- Some classes, for example clerics, learn all spells automatically.
Known spells are displayed on the character sheet, on the Spells tab. Spell casters that know many spells (for example Clerics) must select which of their spells they memorize. Exchanging memorized spells is only possible when in a tavern or after resting: select a spell level on the spells tab and drag the spells you want to memorize to the list at the bottom. Some memorized slots may be locked, for example the memorized spells of a first level cleric always include Cure Light Wounds.
Multiclass characters can gain spellcasting ability from multiple classes; their Spells tab is further divided.
To use spells, drag them from the character sheet to your hotbar. Then select your target and click the hotbarred spell.
If you have a bonus to your caster level, that adjustment applies not only to effects based on caster level (such as duration or damage dealt) but also to your caster level check to overcome your target's spell resistance and to the caster level used to resist attempts to dispel it.
If a spell's target is no longer legal when the spell finishes, the spell has no effect on it.
If you take damage while trying to cast a spell (and are not under the effect of the metamagic feat Quicken), you must make a Concentration check. Roll 1d20 + your Concentration score versus the Difficulty Class 10 + one tenth of the damage received + the level of the spell. If you fail the check, you lose the spell without effect.
Armor Spell Failure Chance
Shields and suits of armor have a chance of causing arcane spell failure - complete failure of a spell due to difficulty performing the intricate gestures it needs. This does not apply to divine spells or to spells that don't have a somatic component. Bards ignore the ASF penalty when wearing light armor. (Though not from shields.)
You may find the arcane spell failure chance for each shield and armor in its description.
Usually a harmful spell allows a target to make a saving throw to avoid some or all of the effect. A spell's details and description explain which type of saving throw the spell allows and how a successful save affects it.
- The spell has no effect on a subject that makes a successful saving throw.
- A successful saving throw means that only some of the spells effects occur or that a weaker effect occurs instead.
- A successful saving throw halves the damage this spell deals to that subject (round down).
- No saving throw is allowed.
Saving Throw Difficulty Class
A saving throw against your spell has a DC of 10 + (the level of the spell) + (your bonus for the relevant Ability) + (any relevant items and or buffs). (Intelligence for a Wizard, Charisma for a Sorcerer or Bard, and Wisdom for a Cleric, Favored Soul, Paladin, or Ranger.) A spell's level can vary depending on your class. Always use the spell level applicable to your class.
Spell Resistance (SR) is a special anti-spell defense possessed by some creatures. Spell Resistance is an additional layer of defense against most non-damaging magical attacks, in that it adds an extra roll that the caster has to make for his magic to "land" on that target.
Spell Resistance only matters if the spell's target creature actually has it, and the spell being cast is one that can be stopped by Spell Resistance. In DDO, spells that focus purely on dealing damage largely ignore Spell Resistance.
The most common creatures with Spell Resistance will be Drow, Duergar, Devils, anything with "Fiendish" in the name and some bosses. (Anticipate spell Resistance to be at least CR plus 10 for regular monsters. Red and purple named bosses tend to have a much higher CR, and generally have spell resistance within 0-5 points of their CR.)
Caster Level check do not automatically succeed on a 20, neither automatically fail on a 1.
This is a property of active abilities/spells in DDO that determines how long you must wait before casting a spell (or using a feat / skill / enhancement) again. For more information on exact cooldown formulas and other details see the cooldown article.
Once you know which creatures (or objects or areas) are affected, and whether those creatures have made successful saving throws (if any were allowed), you can apply whatever results a spell entails.
A spell damage amplification system uses a Spell Power rating to determine how much damage you deal with spells. All bonuses to Spell Power of different types(metamagics/enhancements/items/etc...) stack additively and in most cases, each point of Spell Power increases the base damage of your spell by 1%. Spell Power is not restricted by spell level.
The formula to determine actual spell damage (excluding critical modifiers) is:
- Damage = Base Spell Damage * (100 + Spell Power) / 100
For example, a level 10 wizard casting Fireball deals a base damage of 10d3 + 30 fire damage (average of 50). If he equips a +2 potency scepter (+40 item bonus) + (+6 implement bonus), has purchased the Flame Manipulation V enhancement (+80) and activates both his Maximize and Empower feats ( +150 Maximize, +75 Empower), the average spell damage will increase to 50 * (100 + 100+40+6+80+150+75)/100 = 275.5.
Spell damage can be mitigated by making the appropriate saving throws (or totally negated in some cases when the enemy has the Evasion feat). It can also be reduced by appropriate elemental resistances, whether innate or provided by the Resist Energy spell. Absorption effects, such as a Fire Shield will reduce the damage by a percentage.
Critical hits dealt by the spell are rolled each time a damage effect is applied rather than only when the spell is cast. See Spell critical for details.
Spells that provide bonuses or penalties on attack rolls, damage rolls, saving throws, and other attributes usually do not stack with themselves. More generally, 2 bonuses of the same type don't stack even if they come from different spells.
- Different Bonus Names
- The bonuses or penalties from two different spells stack if the modifiers are of different types. A bonus that doesn't have a type stacks with all other bonuses.
- Same Effect More than Once in Different Strengths
- In cases when two or more identical spells are operating in the same area or on the same target, but at different strengths, only the best one applies.
- One Effect Makes Another Irrelevant
- Sometimes, one spell can render a later spell irrelevant. Both spells are still active, but one has rendered the other useless in some fashion.
- Spells with Opposite Effects
- Spells with opposite effects apply normally, with all bonuses, penalties, or changes accruing in the order that they apply. Some spells negate or counter each other. This is a special effect that is noted in a spell's description.
A ray spell shoots in a straight line toward its designated target, like a ranged weapon, and like ranged weapons, rays affect the first enemy they strike regardless of which enemy you highlighted. Ray spells automatically miss if blocked by terrain or if all enemies move out of the way before the ray is cast.
Listed Spell Details
Mousing over a spell in your spellbook gives a wealth of information about it. You can also mouse over a spell icon in your hotbars, but that summary is less detailed.
Cooldown is the time you must wait after casting the spell before you may cast that specific spell again.
Spell Point Cost (base)
The base number of spell points it normally takes to cast the spell.
Keywords that describe what the spell affects.
Note that this is not the same thing as whether you have to aim the spell by highlighting something first. Some spells always affect an area around you no matter what you have highlighted. In many cases a spell will not hit its intended target, even if it's legal, due to intervening obstacles or other enemies. Some spells are cast at a default direction or target if your highlighted target is illegal.
- Any PC, NPC, or creature other than yourself that isn't hostile to you. This can include hirelings, summoned creatures, friendly combative NPCs, and other players both in and outside your party.
- Any PC, NPC, or creature hostile to you.
- The spell creates a stationary effect centered on its initial target (or at the spot along a line to that target at the spell's maximum range, if that target is too far away). The effect does not move with the target afterwards. Also used for spells that summon things to specify where that thing is initially created.
- The spell only affects targets in the direction of its casting.
- The spell can target and break objects like crates or barrels.
The difficulty class and type of saving throw used to escape the full effect of the spell.
How long the spell's effects last.
"Permanent" effects are not inescapably permanent. They simply do not end on their own. Permanent effects on players end if the player exits a successful quest, spends a minute in a tavern, or logs out for several minutes. Permanent effects can also be dispelled or cured with appropriate countermeasures.
Spell Point Cost (current)
The total number of spell points it would take to cast the spell right now, including all adjustments from active Metamagic Feats and cost-reducing effects.
A number that defines the spell's relative power. Spell levels range from 1 to 9 for dedicated casting classes. The maximum is lower for classes with minor casting ability. A spell's level determines its spell point cost and affects the Difficulty Class for any saving throws allowed against its effects. The same spell may be different levels for different classes.
A spell's level is not the character level at which it can be cast. It generally takes spellcasting classes two or three character levels to gain access to each new level of spells.
A spell's components are what you must do or possess to cast it. Not every spell requires every component.
- A verbal component is a spoken incantation. You cannot cast spells that require this component if you cannot act or speak.
- A somatic component is a measured and precise movement of the hand. You cannot cast spells that require this component if you cannot move.
- Gameplay: This can cause arcane spell failure, resulting in a ruined spell. This means that spells without a Somatic component may be used with disregard to Arcane Spell Failure chance. See: Arcane spells with no somatic component. Note that characters make the same arm gestures for most spells in DDO, so you can't tell which spells require this component by watching your character's animations.
- A material component is one or more physical substances or objects that are annihilated by the spell energies in the casting process. You must have the required items in your inventory.
- Gameplay: You are required to have the appropriate material component in your inventory (not in an ingredient bag or otherwise) to cast the spell. If you run out of the components, the game will not allow you to cast the spell, it will instead inform you of what component is missing.
Cutting across the categories of both arcane and divine spells are the eight schools of magic. These schools represent the different ways that spells take effect.
Every spell belongs to one of eight schools of magic. A school of magic is a group of related spells that work in similar ways. Feats and magic items can give you bonuses to casting spells from specific schools.
This field lists which Metamagic Feats work with this spell.
Arcane Spell Failure
Your current chance of failing to cast this spell due to interference from your armor. This field does not appear for divine spells or if the failure chance is 0%.
Shows whether the spell can be stopped by spell resistance.
The rest of a spell's description covers its effects in detail.
Unlisted Spell Details
Some spells have a descriptor that further categorizes the spell in some way. Descriptors generally depend on the spell's effects in a straightforward way. For example, a spell that causes sonic damage is a "sonic spell". Some spells have more than one descriptor.
Most of these descriptors have no game effect by themselves, but they govern how the spell interacts with other spells, with special abilities, with unusual creatures, with alignment, and so on.
A spell's range is the maximum distance from you that a spell's effect can occur. For spherical area spells, it's the maximum distance from the center of the sphere.
Attempting to cast a spell on a target beyond the spell's range will generally bring up an error "Target is out of range" - if you have an enemy targeted. If not, generally you will just expend the spells points to no effect.. But this depends on the spell. If it's an area spell, it still affects any legal targets that happen to be in its affected area. Spell targets that move during casting are affected based on where they are when the spell finishes, not where they were when it started.
In DDO, There are several key words used to describe a spells range:
- Personal: Personal range means the spell basically has no range and is a self only spell that you can not cast on anything other than yourself.
- Touch: Touch range refers to pretty much as it sounds - you have to almost touching your target for the spell to function. Though not quite, as of update 9, the range for touch spells was very slightly extended to be more forgiving. It's roughly 1.5 times the width of a regular human character.
- Very short: Very short range refers to a standardized fixed distance of about 5 feet. Roughly a third of what most spells have. This short range is generally reserved only for very low level spells which are later replaced by stronger, longer range and more damaging versions.
- Standard: Standard range refers to a standardized fixed distance. For AOE buff type spells such as bless or haste, you can see the actual area affected by the spells animation - about 15 feet. Pretty much every AOE buff spell in the game have the same range as these 2 spells, but some do not display a graphic, so use those as the guide. For Offensive spells and targeted buff spells with standard range, the actual range is about double a standard buff AOE, so roughly 30 feet.
- Double: Double range refers to exactly twice the range that standard spells have. Generally pretty much every ray-type spell in DDO has this range type. It works exactly like having the enlarge feat on, but it's a free benefit for the spell.
Most spells that affect an area have a particular shape, such as a cone, line, or sphere.
- A cone-shaped spell shoots away from you in a quarter-circle centered on your target. Listed as "Conal AOE" in spell descriptions.
- A line-shaped spell shoots away from you in a line in the direction you designate. A line-shaped spell affects all valid targets that the line passes through.
- A sphere-shaped spell expands from its point of origin to fill a spherical area. Listed as "Spherical AOE" in spell descriptions.
- A circular-shaped spell expands from its point of origin to effect a full 360 degree circle. These spells generally either have no Z-axis (height) limitations, or have very large ones.
The pen and paper rule concept of touch attacks does not exist in DDO. Generally, casters make no attack rolls to hit with spells. The only exception are innate attacks of Druids in wild shape, e.g. Takedown. On the other hand the movement of enemies plus lag can still cause you to fail to hit with a touch or bolt spell, if the enemy moved out of range, out of the spells area of effect, behind cover or behind you. Lag especially causes such spells to often fail in melee range, as the server considers your current target to be out of sight even if it is definitely not on the client's screen.