How & When to Use Haste in Pathfinder RPG

There are very few times where it is appropriate to use the “I am SPEED” meme.

One of the absolute best times is under the influence of the Haste spell.

Haste has some misconceptions, though. I’m here to clear all that up!

How Does Haste Work in Pathfinder?

When making a full attack action, a hasted creature may make one (1) extra attack with one (1) weapon at their Full Attack Bonus, plus any modifiers they would normally receive. In addition, they gain a +1 bonus on attack rolls and a +1 dodge bonus to AC and Reflex saves. All movement speeds are increased by 30 feet to a maximum of twice the target’s base speed.

The Benefits of SPEEEEED!  

Haste is one of (if not) THE most versatile spells in any Arcane Spell Caster’s arsenal. It has far reaching effects that are universally powerful.

On the surface, plenty of players just see the +1 to attacks and the +1 dodge bonus, and their eyes glaze over missing the other more important spell effects.

The potential of adding another full attack from your heavy hitters will outweigh just throwing more dice into a fireball attack. While it isn’t completely guaranteed damage, giving your Barbarian, Rogue, and/or Fighter extra swings for at least 5 rounds is the best way to maximize your potential for damage.

Haste can be combined with effects like Lunge and Spring Attack to allow allies to attack from a safe distance around a target, as well as hit for extra damage using abilities like Vital Strike, a Rogue’s Sneak Attack, or a Barbarian rage ability.

Author’s Note: Just cast this spell on any Barbarian Player and watch as their eyes light up like Christmas. Haste was tailor made for the Barbarian Class.

Your Haste spell doesn’t just affect yourself or one target of your choosing, though.

If we look at the spell from the SRD, we can see Haste effects 1 creature/level. Haste is a 3rd level spell, meaning a 5th Level Wizard can reliably catch 5 people with one standard action. Provided they are standing close enough together, our Wizard can easily grab the entire party as long as they are all within 30 feet.

Provided the Wizard manages to get the spell off quickly, the entire party is ready to strike faster and hit harder. This is a maneuver many parties call the “Alpha Strike” and can ensure the momentum stays with the party for the entire combat.

To get the most out of Haste, you should cast it early in combat. The Duration of the spell is nothing to sneeze at. You should be under the effects for the majority of any combat scene unless the fight is particularly difficult.

Let’s go into some examples of how to use Haste effectively.

Example 1

Fae’bel is a Bard and her party of Adventuring friends are in a tight spot. The large ballroom is about to be host to a huge fight, and unfortunately, the recently Polymorphed Duke who is now a Giant Red Dragon is on the other side of the room. Luckily Fae has a Haste ready to go! 

She casts it, and manages to easily get her party in the buff. With their improved movement speed, her friends can get across the ballroom and still have time to hit their target twice with a +1 to each attack! That +1 bonus to reflex saves also makes it easier to dodge the Dragon’s breath weapon.

Example 2

Eurelya and his boyfriend Rhiner are out partying at the local Fantasy Goth Club. They are Elves, go with it.

Some Human supremacists come in and start picking fights with the non-humans present. This raises Rhiner’s hackels, and Eurelya knows this is seriously bad news. Recognizing things are about to get bad, Eurelya casts Haste on himself and Rhiner. With their increased speed, he and Rhiner can easily outrun the Bad guys. Now just to convince Rhiner it’s time to run…

Example 3

Sylvia and her group are tangling with an evil sorcerer and his minions. Unfortunately, the fight is dragging on, and it’s become a grueling battle of attrition. The Evil Sorcerer pulls out something to gain the advantage: a Slow spell.

Lucky for our heroes, Sylvia stands ready. The moment the Big Bad Evil Dude unleashes his Slow spell, Sylvia follows it up with her Haste Spell. This counters the Slow spell and keeps her party out of the deep stuff.

It is worth noting here as well what Haste CANNOT do.

Under the effects of the Haste Spell, you do NOT get an extra standard action! The action added is simply another attack, NOT a whole new action.

Haste also does NOT improve the effects of a Speed weapon. The recipient of a Haste Spell will get the other benefits, but the Speed Weapon is already giving them an extra attack.

It is also worth noting that the +30 feet given by the Haste Spell cannot push a movement speed past two times a base movement speed. 

Example: If Cormack the Dwarf has a base movement speed of 20 ft, and Fae’bel castes her Haste Spell on him, Cormack would only be able to move at 40 ft a round because 50 ft per round would be over double his movement speed.

Who Can Cast Haste?

Haste is a 3rd Level arcane spell, so only arcane casters can gain access to it. 

The Wizard is the first of the classes in the Core Rulebook to get to 3rd level spells, making Haste available at level 5. Sorcerer follows quickly at level 6. Bard comes last at level 7.

Thanks to its scaling, Haste is already a powerful spell when it becomes available to the arcane classes. From there it keeps getting better and better.

Are There Haste Potions, Scrolls, or Wands in PF?

This section should be prefaced by reiterating the old adage to DMs that this is YOUR game and YOUR world. Whether or not something exists in canon is completely up to your group and the DM running the game.

All the above being said: Why yes! This is Fantasy Capitalism! Of course, you can find Haste in a bottle, on a page, or in a stick! All for the right price!

Though is it efficient is the real question. It is worth noting one of the most powerful applications of Haste is its ability to affect multiple subjects.

Unfortunately, Potions can only ever affect one individual. While this may be great if a single individual needs the effects of Haste, it is much more efficient to prepare the spell and cast it as a PARTY WIDE buff.

In addition, crafting or buying Haste Potions is frankly a money sink that most parties really shouldn’t bother with. There are more efficient ways to spend gold than “Go Fast Juice.”

If the party for some reason does not have access to the Haste Spell, acquiring Wands or Scrolls of Haste may not be a bad idea. Scrolls and Wands allow those versed in Magic to cast Party-Wide buffs like Haste.

Though if a party already has an Arcane Spell Caster, it might be more efficient to have them Prepare or Memorize Haste and use the money spent crafting/buying Wands or Scrolls on things like “Click Sticks” (Wand of Cure Minor/Light Wounds).

One With the Speed Force

Haste is overall a fiercely powerful and unique spell that no party should ever be without.

The Justice League wouldn’t be the Justice League without the Flash, and no Party is complete without Haste.

With Haste ready to go, one Arcane Spell Caster can create an entire Family of Speedsters who can take on just about any threat a Dungeon Master can dream up!

Now the only problem is who has to be Wally West?

Happy Hunting Pathfinders!