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Expanded Uses of Permanency

The SRD entry for Permanency states “The GM may allow other spells to be made permanent”, and yet this is an area of the game which few game masters or game designers have felt confident in creating expansion.

Part of the difficulty is that the formula for assigning minimum caster level and gp cost to each use of permanency is undocumented. However, with a little math we can see that the formula is  reasonably simple. The minimum caster level is the spell level plus eight and the gp cost is the spell level times 2,500. Zero level spells are counted as first level in these calculations. Spells are presumed to be at the level of the sorcerer/wizard versions. If the spell in is not a sorcerer/wizard spell, then spell levels are set to the cleric, druid, bard, paladin, and ranger levels, in that order.

There are three exceptions to this formula. Gust of Wind is a second level spell, but it is treated as a third level spell for both minimum caster level and gp cost. Wall of Force is a fifth level spell and has the expected minimum caster level of thirteenth level, but is bargain priced at a 7,500 instead of the expected 12,500. Symbol of Sleep is a fifth level spell, but is treated as an eighth level spell for both minimum caster level and gp cost. Determining whether these are errors in the SRD or conscious design decisions is an exercise left to the reader.

Spells You Can Make Permanent On Yourself

Spell Spell Level Minimum Caster Level GP Cost
Detect Magic 0 9th 2,500
Read Magic 0 9th 2,500
Comprehend Languages 1 9th 2,500
Darkvision 2 10th 5,000
See Invisibility 2 10th 5,000
Arcane Sight 3 11th 7,500
Tongues 3 11th 7,500

Spells You Can Make Permanent On Yourself or Another Creature or An Object

Spell Spell Level Minimum Caster Level GP Cost
Resistance 0 9th 2,500
Enlarge Person 1 9th 2,500
Magic Fang 1 9th 2,500
Reduce Person 1 9th 2,500
Magic Fang, Greater 3 11th 7,500
Telepathic Bond 5 13th 12,500

Spells You Can Make Permanent On Objects or Areas

Spell Spell Level Minimum Caster Level GP Cost
Dancing Lights 0 9th 2,500
Ghost Sound 0 9th 2,500
Alarm 1 9th 2,500
Invisibility 2 10th 5,000
Magic Mouth 2 10th 5,000
Web 2 10th 5,000
Gust of Wind 2 11th 7,500
Shrink Item 3 11th 7,500
Stinking Cloud 3 11th 7,500
Solid Fog 4 12th 10,000
Wall of Fire 4 12th 10,000
Wall of Force 5 13th 7,500
Mage’s Private Sanctum 5 13th 12,500
Symbol of Pain 5 13th 12,500
Symbol of Sleep 5 16th 20,000
Animate Objects 6 14th 15,000
Symbol of Fear 6 14th 15,000
Symbol of Persuasion 6 14th 15,000
Phase Door 7 15th 17,500
Symbol of Stunning 7 15th 17,500
Symbol of Weakness 7 15th 17,500
Prismatic Wall 8 16th 20,000
Symbol of Death 8 16th 20,000
Symbol of Insanity 8 16th 20,000
Prismatic Sphere 9 17th 22,500
Teleportation Circle 9 17th 22,500

Two spells are slightly nerfed by permanency. Invisibility can only be made permanent on “objects or areas” – you cannot make yourself or another party member permanently invisible. Telepathic Bond drops from “you plus one willing creature per three levels” to “two creatures” — but this also improves the spell by allowing it to not include the caster.

I would feel safe in adjusting both the minimum caster level and gp costs of new spells upon which I allowed Permanency to be used. If you look at the new spells which Paizo has explicitly allowed to be used with Permanency, you can see that Paizo is using the formula only as a rough guideline.

New Uses for Permanency Added by Paizo

Spell Spell Level Minimum Caster Level GP Cost
Dancing Lantern 1 9th 2,500
Invisibility Alarm 1 9th 2,500
Sanctify Corpse 1 9th 500
Symbol of Mirroring 2 10th 5,000
Anthropomorphic Animal 3 11th 7,500
Aura Sight 3 11th 7,500
Loathsome Veil 3 10th 7,500
Symbol of Laughter 4 10th 5,000
Symbol of Revelation 4 12th 10,000
Symbol of Slowing 4 11th 10,000
Symbol of Scrying 5 13th 10,000
Symbol of Strife 9 18th 25,000
Symbol of Vulnerability 9 18th 25,000

Limits of Permanency

Although spells up to ninth level can be made permanent, there appears to be a limit of fifth level for spells which can be made permanent on a person. In addition, no spells with a duration shorter than one minute per level appear to be allowed to be made permanent. One round per level buffs may simply be too powerful to be made permanent.

Evaluating Expanded Uses of Permanency

Blood Scent, a third level spell, seems like an easy choice for permanency with the default minimum caster level of eleventh and a cost of 7,500gp

At first glance, Fly appears too powerful to be made permanent. Fly is a third level spell and the formula would give it a minimum caster level of eleventh level and a gp cost of 7,500. That still appears to be too good of a deal. Overland Flight is a 5th level spell with a duration of one hour per level, but with a slower flight speed. A wizard will gain access to Overland Flight at ninth level, but at the cost of his highest level spell slot. I would probably not allow Permanency to be used with Fly, but if I did allow it I would limit it to self-only to prevent characters from buying it from an NPC. I would also raise the minimum caster level to seventeenth level and the gp cost to 22,500.

Every spell is unique, which is why each spell must be evaluated individually. Treating all spells of the similar level, range, and duration the same is what caused difficulties with the Persistent Spell feat in 3.0 and 3.5.

Suggested Spells For Use With Permanency

Here are twelve Pathfinder spells you might allow your players to make permanent: