Bye, Bye Benevolent Spell

As part of my continuing effort to remove old house rules from the game that could be at odds with Pathfinder, I turn to a feat that was created many moons ago during our first year playing D&D third edition. It is the metamagic feat Benevolent Spell. The text goes a bit like this:

BENEVOLENT SPELL [Metamagic]
You can cast spells that normally only affect yourself on other people.

Benefit: You can cast a spell that normally has a range of “personal” as if it was a touch spell. You are therefore able to cast such spells on another recipients. A benevolent spell uses up a spell slot two levels higher than the spell’s actual level.

Now it seems on the face of it, a completely logical metamagic feat. After all there are metamagic feats that let you turn touch attacks into ray attacks; there are metamagic feats that allow you extend spells and widen spells… so why shouldn’t you be able to turn a Personal spell into one you can cast on other people? At least that’s what I though then.

The truth is that Personal spells in D&D and Pathfinder are Personal for a reason. The mechanics of the game start to break down if you allow magic-users to cast them on other characters. Spells like True Strike and Shield are not supposed to be cast willy-nilly around a group of adventurers.

Now, we can argue whether or not a feat is over-powered until the cows come home, but I think there’s one incontrovertible point that backs up my decision to remove Benevolent Spell  from the game. The idea behind the feat is not revolutionary: it is very, very obvious. It’s the simplest and most logical extension of a metamagic feat I can think of… BUT in eleven years of 3.0, 3.5 and Pathfinder supplements an official version of this feat has never appeared.

That tells me there’s something wrong with the feat. And that’s why we’re going to be discretely putting it to bed.

HOWEVER, I am not (after all these years) going to force Ravenna to give up Benevolent Spell. She is such an established character, and she has used this feat so often that it just seems unfair to force this change. So Ravenna is the only character in the entire campaign world who can do this, and the secret dies with her!

Advertisements