Can a wizard learn a spell from a divine scroll?


Rules Questions

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Silver Crusade

There is a difference between divine and arcane magic. We are arguing one exception to that general rule. D&D and PF are full of exceptions to general rules.

Regarding the arcane/divine divide there are many exceptions. One of the more prominent is the bard. He can cast cure spells (normally the province of the divine) as arcane spells. All the bard's spells are arcane. The bard if he takes the scribe scroll feat could write an arcane version of cure spells. Another bard can use this but a wizard cannot because it is not on his spell list.

A witch is also an arcane caster and presents the same question.

The question here also becomes can a divine caster use a cure scroll scribed by a bard. I think the obvious answer is yes based upon what I presented before.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Hudax wrote:


Well, as you have demonstrated, it is covered. My position is that it would be simpler (and therefore shorter) to do away with the divide, because the divide doesn't really serve a purpose beyond filling the rulebook with the very minutiae we want to avoid.

Avoid minutiae? Some of us not only not avoid it, we invite it over every Tuesday morning for afternoon tea.


Ravingdork wrote:

Wizards cannot cast spells from divine scrolls (not unless they use UMD or something similar).

But can a wizard add a spell from a divined spell scroll into his spellbook (provided that it IS on his spell list)?

I'd say yes in a very limited sense. An arcane theurge can do it. Also I would allow the spells in the Arcane(magic) domain to be learned cross class. Other than those two exceptions no.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

I'm sure there's isn't a concrete "you can't do exactly this" in the rules but the separation of divine and arcane is clearly established. The core says you can't use the "wrong" kind several different ways. Just because we've found an edge case that isn't specifically listed doesn't mean we should just allow it. The precedent is clear. Follow the pattern.

That being said...

I'm convinced the divine version of protection from evil looks like this when you read magic it: "ask God."

Same with all the divine spells. Even were a wizard to decipher the divine version of spell he could manage, the result wouldn't be useful to him. Following its instructions just doesn't work. With Use Magic Device, he can manage though.


Anguish wrote:

I'm sure there's isn't a concrete "you can't do exactly this" in the rules but the separation of divine and arcane is clearly established. The core says you can't use the "wrong" kind several different ways. Just because we've found an edge case that isn't specifically listed doesn't mean we should just allow it. The precedent is clear. Follow the pattern.

That being said...

I'm convinced the divine version of protection from evil looks like this when you read magic it: "ask God."

Same with all the divine spells. Even were a wizard to decipher the divine version of spell he could manage, the result wouldn't be useful to him. Following its instructions just doesn't work. With Use Magic Device, he can manage though.

Isn't the bigger problem balance. If the two Ar interchangeable a cleric could hand a wizard copies of all the spells that are on both lists.

Silver Crusade

That is a problem and that situation is what prompted this thread (according to RD).

Here is the thing though. If you read all the divine spell stuff it never says that divine magic is prayers. The only spell that is a prayer is Prayer. Even that one does not say pray in the spell description.

Spells are not granted by a divine being (according to the rules). Now if you angry up your specific divine being then he can take your spells away (similar to a paladin). In previous editions this link was much clearer. The power of the deity you worshiped limited your maximum spell power (demigod, lesser god, greater god). In this edition it is not so clearly linked.

In terms of balance I think this is not such an issue. The cleric would need to take the scribe scroll feat, pay the cost of the scrolls, and then the wizard needs to pay to scribe them (negligible but part of the overall cost here). If the cleric, who is not guarnteed to have a high int, has shorted spellcraft then he could fail with some frequency. In rich campaigns that, like all magic item creation, will be a problem, in others not so much.

edit:

I just want to add that the rule says: . Instead, the character chooses a particular time of day to pray and receive spells. It undercuts my point a bit but it is important to notice that you pray for spells. These spells you receive are not listed as being different from arcane spells except that to cast a divine scroll you must have the divine spell list. Otherwise the scroll is not limited for other uses.

Silver Crusade

Anguish wrote:

I'm sure there's isn't a concrete "you can't do exactly this" in the rules but the separation of divine and arcane is clearly established. The core says you can't use the "wrong" kind several different ways. Just because we've found an edge case that isn't specifically listed doesn't mean we should just allow it. The precedent is clear. Follow the pattern.

The problem with precedent in this game is that the rules are chock full of exceptions. Exceptions to rules is the stock in trade of this game. From individual classes that mix arcane and divine (witch, bard, theurge--maybe others) to class abilities that override certain rules.

Rules exceptions are everywhere. Follow the general principle is not really a good guideline unless you are making an ingame call.

Like I said before, I think the rules support this corner case. I would not allow it in my game but if we are talking RAW then the case exists.


Just doing a pop in, reading over all of this I did a quick set of google searches (not hard to do) I found a cleric archetype that lets them use arcane and a wizard Archetype to let it use divine, this only furthers the fact that the spells are from one mass source rather than just saying there is the great wall'o magic that divides arcane and Divine. I'm not that familiar with pathfinder but there isn't much separation in the two at all...


What the heck, I'll toss in my two cents. I say yes, the wizard can copy the spell once they decipher it. Remember, he's not actually casting the thing, which would require the proper ability score and casting type. Also, whether or not the scroll is divine or arcane, Read Magic or a DC 20-29 Spellcraft check is still required to understand what the heck is written down. Since magic is so similar once it's put out into the world anyways, as seen by how the same spells are treated identically when cast by both a divine and arcane caster, we can infer there's some sort of universal code to it that a wizard can translate. Plus, arcane magic is just reversed engineered from divine magic on Golarion anyways.


Huh.

Arcane Magical Writings wrote:

Once a character deciphers a particular piece of magical writing, he does not need to decipher it again. Deciphering magical writing allows the reader to identify the spell and gives some idea of its effects (as explained in the spell description). If the magical writing is a scroll and the reader can cast arcane spells, he can attempt to use the scroll.

Divine Magical Writings wrote:
Divine spells can be written and deciphered like arcane spells (see Arcane Magical Writings). A Spellcraft check can decipher divine magical writing and identify it. Only characters who have the spell (in its divine form) on their class spell list can cast a divine spell from a scroll.

Beyond the "Divine Spells can be written and deciphered like Arcane Spells" we also have the above odd word difference.

Using an arcane scroll means you need to be able to cast arcane spells. Casting from a divine scroll requires being able to cast divine spells AND have that spell on your list. But it doesn't say anything about using it otherwise, such as to scribe it into a spellbook.

Very odd.

I'm 100% sure RAI is that you can't scribe spells from divine scrolls into your spellbook. By RAW though, looks like it would work.

Edit: It really doesn't make sense, since it is a spell you can't cast. It's written for divine casters who cast their spells different, from a different source, etc, etc. As a DM I would not allow it. I would allow cheap research based on the scroll though.

Liberty's Edge

Logically, it would make perfect sense to not be able to scribe it.

A scroll is very different than a spellbook. A scroll is a completed spell, placed on paper.

A spellbook is a list of instructions on how to cast a spell.

Last I checked, divine casters don't carry spellbooks, in part because it isn't the casting of the spell that is the source of the magical outcome, rather it is the divine source providing the power.

I can write the words and the motions in a book. For arcane casting, that is enough. If you move and speak properly, it happens.

For divine casting, it isn't the motion or the words, persay. It's that you have been permitted to access the divine power because of who you are.

In a scroll, the person who made the scroll "loaded" it with the spell. You are just releasing it.

With memorization...different mechanic.

Liberty's Edge

I think another thing to consider is that a scroll is consumed by copying into a spell book. I think there is a decided RAI that a divine scroll can't be used this way. There is circumstantial evidence that it can't be used this way. There is the "use" verb regarding scrolls. I think the case against it it pretty strong.


Howie23 wrote:

I think another thing to consider is that a scroll is consumed by copying into a spell book. I think there is a decided RAI that a divine scroll can't be used this way. There is circumstantial evidence that it can't be used this way. There is the "use" verb regarding scrolls. I think the case against it it pretty strong.

Divine writings section doesn't have the word "use" like that. Only arcane. The scroll section under magic items is very explicitly only about casting spells from scrolls.

I agree that RAI is for this to not be allowed, but the rules themselves are not remotely clear. I think 2nd Edition was, however.


My observation:

There is at least one case where it is conceptually possible that you could copy a scroll into your book and genuinely learn it, but not be able to successfully cast from it: A wizard scroll of a wizard spell above your level. You could make a decipher check, and copy the spell, but not be able to make the check to cast it.

So the argument that you can't copy a spell if you can't cast it does not persuade me.

I think the intent is probably that you can't copy a scroll that was created by a cleric, even if the spell is on the wizard spell list, and that the existence of scrolls which don't specify whether they are arcane or divine is probably an accident.

But there really is some ambiguity here. Imagine that you are running a published adventure, and you encounter a piece of treasure: A scroll of dispel magic.

Can the party's wizard scribe it? Why or why not?

Lantern Lodge

Arcane magic: Twisting arcane energies to alter the world around you.

Divine magic: Asking a Deity to use arcane magic to twist arcane energies and alter the world around you.

Hmmm....

The question is:

Do wizards know how to ask deities for things?
Can a cleric cast a spell if his deity is dead?


So here's a possible mechanical explanation (as I see it) to why a wizard who can scribe a scroll into her spellbook can't cast it from the scroll.

Scrolls are spell completion items, which means that most of the spell is already cast, only a final bit is required from the user. A lot of spells that are both divine and arcane has a different requirement, that is, Divine Focus vs. material component. Thus, even if the wizard can spend an hour studying the scroll getting the gist of the spell, the divine finishing touch of the scroll (throwing a hand in the air shouting "Aaahhhh") doesn't work for her. She could, on the other hand, use an arcane finisher (pointing a finger, saying something like "A'ffharagst"), even on a scroll made by her wizard friend, because they have left a part of the spell for the user to finish which is about as sensible to her. She is able to recognize this difference and deal with it in written form, but is unable to finish casting the divine spell directly as that way of doing it does not make sense to her (she would be prone to failing at it, maybe pronouncing the aaahhhh wrong as anyone untrained in UMD would).


Since this question does not seem to have a clear resolution, I'm going to throw out the obvious answer. Your inquisitor should prepare nothing but dimmensional anchor one day. Then the wizard can kill you, drink a pint of your blood, and cast blood transcription.

Take one for the team.
Problem solved.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

For more RAW confusion you can have a divine scroll that a cleric/scriber cannot use. For example a cleric couldn't cast a scroll of a domain spell that is not a cleric spell, The user must have the spell on her class list. Domains do not add to your class spell list.

A cleric gains one domain spell slot for each level of cleric spell she can cast, from 1st on up. Each day, a cleric can prepare one of the spells from her two domains in that slot. If a domain spell is not on the cleric spell list, a cleric can prepare it only in her domain spell slot. Domain spells cannot be used to cast spells spontaneously.

- or did i miss something?


Quote:
For more RAW confusion you can have a divine scroll that a cleric/scriber cannot use. For example a cleric couldn't cast a scroll of a domain spell that is not a cleric spell, The user must have the spell on her class list. Domains do not add to your class spell list.

He could cast it if he had the same domain. It's a separate list, and it's a restricted list, but it's still a cleric list.

So a cleric could cast a divine Disintegrate scroll if he also had Destruction domain, because it is on one of his spell lists.


Ravingdork wrote:
But I see no evidence of this anywhere in the rules.

The very fact that they absolutely differentiate between Arcane and Divine seems to be the evidence.

They clearly and unambiguoulsy state that there is a difference between magics: Arcane and Divine.
They clearly and unambiguously state that Divine casters can only use divine scrolls and Arcane casters arcane ones.

If the intent was not there to make them different and seperate then there would just be 'Magic' and 'Scrolls' and no seperate sections on Divine scrolls and Divine Magical Writing and Arcane scrolls and Arcane Magical writings.

Whilst the mechanics are handle nearly identically for the two for ease of play, it is clear there are differences in the very fact that they classify them as different, Arcane and Divine.

Since scrolls have several uses (as one shot spell storage devices and as mediums of spell knowledge trade to name the primary two for Arcanists) the section of what an Arcanist can and cannot USE would be applicaple to scribing spells from scrolls. Arcanists use arcane scrolls and cannot use Divine scrolls hence they cannot scribe divine versions of spells that are also on their arcane lists.


If an arcane caster isn't able to even cast a spell from a divine scroll, Ravingdork, what would you guess that the designers intended regarding the ability to learn the spell?

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