A Spell-like ability is usually a magical effect that works exactly like a spell of the same name yet costs no or fewer spell points. Some SLAs are limited in uses per rest, or have unlimited use but a longer cooldown. Monk SLAs cost ki. A few spell-like abilities are unique and are identified as such in their description.
Like spells, spell-like abilities are subject to spell resistance and to being dispelled by Dispel Magic. However, some spell-like abilities, such as bard songs or a "Light" Monk's Finishing Moves cannot be dispelled by spells such as Dispel Magic or Break Enchantment. These abilities are especially useful against creatures such as beholders, which have an anti-magic cone about them, removing most buffs within that zone. However, since Update 21, many SLAs cannot be used in antimagic field any longer.
SLAs are not subject to cooldown increase, such as one from Combat Expertise, Tenser's Transformation or being in an animal form. They are also not subject to cooldown decrease, like one from Arcane Alacrity.
- SLAs typically have a significantly lower SP cost than the equivalent spell, and require no material components. For example, the Archmage enhancement tree offers a version of Stoneskin which requires only 10 SP (rather than 25) and no expensive material component.
- Metamagic feats can be applied for free without increasing spell point cost (although not all SLAs can be affected by metamagic).
- SLAs are usually not subject to Arcane Spell Failure. The exception is Warlock SLAs. This is the same behavior as in PnP.
- Casting SLAs cannot be interrupted by taking damage (i.e., they don't require Concentration checks), but can still fail when the caster is interrupted in another fashion, for example tripped.
- SLAs are not affected by effects that reduce the spell point cost of spells, such as Magical Efficiency.
- SLAs often have longer cooldown than spells.
- Only a small number of SLAs are available to any given class. For example, a level 20 Wizard may have 45 slotted spells, but perhaps only 3 - 6 SLAs.
Sources of spell-like abilities
- Dragonmarks - feats and racial enhancements
- Epic Destinies
- Some of the Finishing Moves
- Some of Past Life Feats