Pathfinder Advice: Inventive Uses for Low-Level Spells

Adventuring is a tricky, dangerous business. Skilled adventurers take every advantage they can get and inventive wizards can find uses for almost any spell.

By William McAusland (Outland Arts)
By William McAusland (Outland Arts)


Inventive play is one of the hallmarks of an experienced, skilled gamer. I recently blogged about clever uses for mundane items and so it seemed natural to turn my baleful eye to low-level spells. My favourite character class is wizard, and so—without further ado—here are some inventive uses for low-level wizard spells.

  • Continual Flame: Cast this on an arrowhead and then encase it in wax. When it hits a target, the wax breaks and the area is illuminated (along with any enemies lurking within) while you stay hidden in darkness. This also (obviously) works on bolts and sling stones as well.
  • Magic Mouth: Magic mouth is a great reusable alarm spell. Cast on a object – with a command to scream if anyone passes by without uttering a certain word – camping adventurers can affix the object to doors, walls, trees and so on. Such an early warning system provides adventurers notice intruders are approaching their camp, which could prove the difference between life and death. Magic mouth can also be cast on missile weapons with a command to scream when it hits a target. Being hit by an arrow is annoying, being hit by a screaming arrow is doubly so!
  • Mount: Mount is a great spell for a wizard to keep handy, as it allows them to run away very quickly. Mount, though, can also be used to block corridors and slowdown pursuit (a horse is a Large animal, after all). The summoned creature is able to attack, albeit not particularly effectively, and so the spell also has some combat application. Finally, of course, the spell caster does not have to ride the mount. Rather it could be used to haul a loot from a dungeon! Unscrupulous spell casters could even summon the mount, sell it to an unsuspecting mark and flee before the trick is revealed.
  • Rope Trick: Mainly used as a handy, safe camp rope trick’s utility doesn’t end there. It can be used as an excellent spot from which to launch a sudden ambush. With the rope pulled up so those below can’t reach it, those within are virtually unassailable. Rope trick can also be used to get across a pit or climb a tricky wall (with clever positioning) because the spell not only creates an inter dimensional space but also suspends a rope up to 30 ft. long in midair. Adventurers can use the rope simply to climb, or could use it to swing across the aforementioned pit.
  • Web: A classic low-level wizard spell, web has tons of uses beyond the obvious of ensnaring  enemies. It can block line of sight and line of effect which means it can make a handy, if flimsy, shield against certain spell effects. It can also be used as a crash mat. Cast in a pit or at the bottom of a wall its springy tendril are sure to provide some cushion for falling characters. (To be fair, I didn’t come up with this one—one of my players used it to stop a comrade plunging to their death in a pit trap).

Help Fellow Gamers

Do you have inventive uses for other low-level wizard spells? If you do, let us know what they are in the comments and help your fellow gamers get more out of low-level spells!

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Creighton is the publisher at Raging Swan Press and the designer of the award winning adventure Madness at Gardmore Abbey. He has designed many critically acclaimed modules such as Retribution and Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands and worked with Wizards of the Coast, Paizo, Expeditious Retreat Press, Rite Publishing and Kobold Press.

10 thoughts on “Pathfinder Advice: Inventive Uses for Low-Level Spells”

  1. Well, there is this 2nd level spell in the APG, Create Pit, which my kobold sorcerer ended up with because of being a kobold-bloodline sorcerer. It was kind of an amusing spell, but not one that I thought much of . . . until we we stymied by a magically locked door in the basement of a haunted house. So, I created a pit, half under our side and half under the other side of the door and we just went under the door into the basement. Our GM was not amused but let us do it.

  2. Low level Wizard/Sorc worried about spell limitations? Cantrips make a world of difference. If fighting furry/hairy enemies such as wolves use drench to make them nice and wet, and follow up with an electric or ice move.

  3. Here’s a twist on spell scrolls; in my campaign, scrolls with spells on them that only the respective spellcaster (Cleric, Druid, Wizard for ex.) are called ‘Trigger Scrolls’. For two times the price, a non-spellcaster can buy what is called a ‘crack scroll’. Only personal, defensive spells of 3rd. level or lower can be obtained this way & it takes a standard action to use one. They can only be activated by the owner breaking them with their own two hands otherwise the crack scroll is wasted.

  4. Tie a couple of flasks of oil to a vial of alchemical fire (with the vial at the bottom) and Mage Hand becomes very useful, especially if you want to cause a distraction the other side of an arrow slit or window.

  5. My wizard player totally abuses prestidigitation. That spell can almost literally be used for everything. From cleaning the snow and ice off floor surfaces, to polishing himself up to look good for royalty after a messy battle, to cleaning weapons clean of poison.

  6. Enter Image – Bard 2 / Cleric 3 / Wizard 3
    In our Kingmaker game, my bard was King of the kingdom, he had coins minted with his likeness. The range of Enter Image is 50ft per level, and the duration is concentration… he was able to move through the capital and listen to passing conversations with a DC 10 Perception check. This was a very effective means of secretly collecting information and gauging the sentiments of the people.

    Gifts of gold could also be given to visiting foreign emissaries, adventurers, caravans, etc… as a means of spying.

    The opportunity to mint coins is seldom afforded to adventurers, but this is a fantastic tool for DMs to allow a villain to thwart PC plans.

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