Variant Rules >Magic >

Magic Rating

Magic Rating

A character’s magic rating measures the power of her spells and spell-like abilities. It replaces caster level for determining range, targets, effect, area, duration, dispel checks, difficulty to dispel, caster level checks to overcome spell resistance, and all other effects of a spell or spell-like ability based on her caster level. It has no effect on extraordinary or supernatural abilities.

Magic Ratings For Standard Characters

Table: Magic Rating by Class
Class Level A1 B2 C3
  1. Use column A for bard, cleric,
    druid, sorcerer, and wizard levels.
  2. Use column B for monk, paladin, and ranger levels.
  3. Use column C for barbarian, fighter, and rogue levels.
1st 1 0 0
2nd 2 1 0
3rd 3 1 0
4th 4 2 1
5th 5 2 1
6th 6 3 1
7th 7 3 1
8th 8 4 2
9th 9 4 2
10th 10 5 2
11th 11 5 2
12th 12 6 3
13th 13 6 3
14th 14 7 3
15th 15 7 3
16th 16 8 4
17th 17 8 4
18th 18 9 4
19th 19 9 4
20th 20 10 5

All character classes have a magic rating, which increases by level much like base attack bonus. For a multiclass character, add up the character’s magic ratings from each of her classes to find the character’s total magic rating.

For example, a 6th-level wizard/4th-level rogue is treated as a 7th-level caster for determining the range, duration, and other effects of her spells. Her summon monster spells last for 7 rounds, her lightning bolts inflict 7d6 damage, she rolls 1d20+7 for dispel checks, caster level checks to overcome spell resistance, and so forth. She still doesn’t get 4th-level spells (as a normal 7th-level wizard would).

Optional Variant

If the GM wants to discourage multiclassing between classes with very different spell selection, he can rule that magic ratings from arcane spellcasting classes (bard, sorcerer, and wizard) don’t stack with magic ratings from divine spellcasting classes (cleric, druid, paladin, and ranger). (Magic ratings from nonspellcasting classes—barbarian, fighter, monk, and rogue—stack with all other magic ratings.) This system results in each character effectively having two magic ratings: an arcane magic rating and a divine magic rating. Using this variant, a druid would gain more benefit multiclassing into ranger than into bard.

Magic Ratings For Other Classes

For classes not mentioned here, use the following guidelines to determine a class’s magic rating.

Use the first column if the class grants…

  • +1 spellcaster level more than half the times a level is gained. Examples: arcane trickster, archmage, eldritch knight, hierophant, loremaster, mystic theurge, thaumaturgist.
  • Spells of 6th level or higher.

Use the second column if the class grants…

  • +1 spellcaster level at least once, but no more than half the times a level is gained.
  • Spells of up to 5th level. Examples: assassin, blackguard.
  • Bonus spells. Example: dragon disciple.
  • At least three supernatural or spell-like abilities. Examples: arcane archer, horizon walker, shadowdancer.

For all other classes, use the third column. Examples: dwarven defender, duelist.

Magic Ratings For Monsters

The same system applies to the spellcasting ability of monsters. Each creature with an Intelligence of at least 1 gains a magic rating based on its type and Hit Dice. As a general rule, a creature of a certain type uses a certain column on Table: Magic Rating by Class to determine its magic rating (treating the monster’s Hit Dice as equivalent to class level for this purpose):

First Column

fey, outsider.

Second Column

aberration, dragon, elemental, undead.

Third Column

animal, construct, giant, humanoid, magical beast, monstrous humanoid, ooze, plant, vermin.

Two exceptions exist to the general rule. First, if a creature has innate spellcasting ability (such as a lammasu) or at least three supernatural or spell-like abilities (such as a shield guardian), it uses either the column for its creature type or the second column, whichever gives the higher result.

Second, creatures with no Intelligence score (such as vermin, oozes, some undead, and most constructs) have no magic rating. If such a creature somehow gains an Intelligence score (such as by the application of a template that doesn’t otherwise change its type), use the third column to determine its magic rating.

If a monster has or gains class levels, the magic rating for that class stacks with the monster’s magic rating from Hit Dice (just the way it works for multiclass characters). For example, a hound archon (6 HD outsider) and a dragon turtle (12 HD dragon) both have a magic rating of 6. If either creature gained a level of sorcerer, for example, its magic rating would improve to 7 (thanks to the magic rating of 1 that a 1st-level sorcerer has), and it would cast its spells at an effective caster level of 7th.

The magic rating system has no effect on the caster level of a creature’s extraordinary or supernatural abilities. For its spell-like abilities, use the creature’s normal caster level as given in its monster description for the starting point, not the magic rating derived from this system.

For example, a hezrou demon’s spell-like abilities have a magic rating of 13 (since it casts as a 13th-level caster), rather than a magic rating of 10 (for its 10 HD, from the first column on the table). However, if the hezrou later gains class levels, the magic rating for its spell-like abilities would go up based on the levels gained.

Creatures with different caster levels for different abilities use whichever generates the most favorable result by the above rules. For example, a gynosphinx is a 14th-level caster for most of her spell-like abilities but can use any symbol spell as an 18th-level caster. She would have a magic rating of 18.