Definition of "spellcasting class"


Rules Questions


For classes that gain spells at L4 such as bloodrager, ranger, or paladin are you considered to have levels in a spellcasting class for purposes of prerequisites when L3 or below? I realize you do not have a caster level yet, but this is not quite the same thing.


Paladin entry wrote:
Through 3rd level, a paladin has no caster level. At 4th level and higher, her caster level is equal to her paladin level – 3.

The bloodrager lacks this text. So paladin doesn't get caster levels until 4th, while bloodrager is always considered a caster.


derpdidruid wrote:
Paladin entry wrote:
Through 3rd level, a paladin has no caster level. At 4th level and higher, her caster level is equal to her paladin level – 3.
The bloodrager lacks this text. So paladin doesn't get caster levels until 4th, while bloodrager is always considered a caster.

No caster levels, yes. But is paladin considered a "spellcasting class?" Note that paladins can for example activate wands when they don't have a CL yet.


Being a "spellcasting class" seems to me synonymous with having a "spells" class feature, and you don't get to claim you have a class feature until you reach the level where you acquire it, so I'm going to say No. But I might change my mind if you provide context.


As it happens a closer reading of what I wanted to do renders it moot anyway. The ability I wanted to use only references arcane spells not divine ones.

Scarab Sages

RealAlchemy wrote:
For classes that gain spells at L4 such as bloodrager, ranger, or paladin are you considered to have levels in a spellcasting class for purposes of prerequisites when L3 or below? I realize you do not have a caster level yet, but this is not quite the same thing.

As I understand it, they are considered being a spellcasting class and the spells on the their class' spell list can apply for the purposes of using wands and certain other magical items.

That said, both the ranger and the paladin have archetypes which specifically remove the spellcasting feature from their class. Off hand, the Ranger has the Trapper archetype and the Paladin has the Temple Champion archetype. I think there are a few others for each.


If the specific prerequisites include "spellcasting class," which I'd be interested in seeing and example of, any class that includes casting ability, irrespective of having a caster level yet, should qualify.

But context would matter.


When do I count as having a class feature?

You have a class feature when your class description tells you you gain that class feature, generally based on your level in that class (and perhaps altered by factors, see below).

If you have an archetype or other rules element that replaces that class feature, you do not have that class feature. For example, if your archetype replaces a rogue's sneak attack, you no longer have the sneak attack class feature (whether a requirement is as general as "sneak attack" or as specific as "sneak attack +1d6," you do not qualify for it).

If you have an archetype or other rules element that replaces part of a scaling class feature, or delays when you get that class feature, you do not have that class feature until you actually gain that class feature.
Example: If you have a fighter archetype that replaces weapon training 1 (but not weapon training 2, 3, and 4), you don't gain the weapon training 2 ability until fighter level 9, which means you don't have the weapon training class ability at all until you reach fighter level 9. Anything with "weapon training" or "weapon training class feature" as a prerequisite is unavailable to you until level 9.
Example: If you have a cleric archetype that replaces channel energy at level 1 (but not later increments of channel energy), you don't gain the channel energy ability until cleric level 3, which means you don't have the channel energy class feature until you reach cleric level 3. Anything with "channel energy" or "channel energy class feature" as a prerequisite is unavailable to you until level 3.
Example: If you have a witch archetype that replaces your hex at level 1 (but not later hexes, major hexes, or grand hexes), you don't gain your first hex ability until witch level 2, which means you don't have the hex class feature until you reach witch level 2. Anything with "hex" or "hex class feature" as a prerequisite is unavailable to you until level 2.

So you don't have the Spells class feature until you do. I don't think you count as a spellcasting class if you don't have the Spells class feature.

...And I have no real idea why I'm posting this after the OP said the question is moot....


it's useful to other ppl who wanna know the answer anyway

Scarab Sages

archetypes which specifically prevent a class from being a spellcaster

Paladin: Divine Guardian, Tempered Champion, Temple Champion, and Warrior of the Holy Light.

Ranger: Skirmisher and Trapper.

Note that the Ranger archetypes seem to replace spellcasting at later levels, while the paladin archetypes seem to do it at 1st level.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

As a rule of thumb (and quite possibly, a hard rule) I'd say it's any class possessing the "Spells Per Day" class feature. It's pretty much the one thing all spellcasting classes have in common.


I would argue that Paladins do, in fact, count as a spellcasting class even before they get spells. This is based on the rules text of spell trigger items (ie, wands):

Spell Trigger wrote:


Spell trigger activation is similar to spell completion, but it’s even simpler. No gestures or spell finishing is needed, just a special knowledge of spellcasting that an appropriate character would know, and a single word that must be spoken. Spell trigger items can be used by anyone whose class can cast the corresponding spell. This is the case even for a character who can’t actually cast spells, such as a 3rd-level paladin. The user must still determine what spell is stored in the item before she can activate it. Activating a spell trigger item is a standard action and does not provoke attacks of opportunity.

In other words, the Paladin class is considered a spellcasting class even prior to gaining the spellcasting class feature.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

The paladin is always a "spellcasting class," but isn't considered a "spellcaster" until he reaches level 4. Hopefully, that makes sense.


Ravingdork wrote:
The paladin is always a "spellcasting class," but isn't considered a "spellcaster" until he reaches level 4. Hopefully, that makes sense.

Um... that is how the original poster phrased his question:

RealAlchemy wrote:
For classes that gain spells at L4 such as bloodrager, ranger, or paladin are you considered to have levels in a spellcasting class for purposes of prerequisites when L3 or below? I realize you do not have a caster level yet, but this is not quite the same thing.

I agree with your distinction (a spellcaster, by definition, is someone who can cast spells) but it's not actually relevant to the specific question being asked.


So, related to this question, I have one about Arcane Strike:

Arcane Strike wrote:

You draw upon your arcane power to enhance your weapons with magical energy.

Prerequisite: Ability to cast arcane spells.

Benefit: As a swift action, you can imbue your weapons with a fraction of your power. For 1 round, your weapons deal +1 damage and are treated as magic for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction. For every five caster levels you possess, this bonus increases by +1, to a maximum of +5 at 20th level.

When is a bloodrager able to take this feat? Can he take it a level 1, or does he have to wait until he gains Blood Casting and Spells at level 4?

Silver Crusade

Phntm888 wrote:

So, related to this question, I have one about Arcane Strike:

Arcane Strike wrote:

You draw upon your arcane power to enhance your weapons with magical energy.

Prerequisite: Ability to cast arcane spells.

Benefit: As a swift action, you can imbue your weapons with a fraction of your power. For 1 round, your weapons deal +1 damage and are treated as magic for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction. For every five caster levels you possess, this bonus increases by +1, to a maximum of +5 at 20th level.

When is a bloodrager able to take this feat? Can he take it a level 1, or does he have to wait until he gains Blood Casting and Spells at level 4?

Bloodragers can't cast spells until level 4, and that's what the feat says you need to be able to do. So no, a bloodrager can't take that feat at levels 1-3.


Okay. That was how I interpreted the prerequisite originally, but then this question got me wondering if I was wrong. Thank you for the quick answer.


So, a spellcasting class is any class that has spells even if they don't have them yet. So all delayed 4th lvl casters are spellcasting classes at level 1.

A spell caster is only those who currently have a spells per day class feature. All delayed 4th lvl casters are not spell casters until they gain their spells.


Pretty much, yeah. XD

(This IS an important distinction sometimes, since there are effects based on something like whether a given spell is on your class' spell list, whether or not you can actually cast it.)


All this is still useful information, even if I can't do quite what I wanted to do, since it looks like some of what I'm after will still work :) One of those cases where exact phrasing of the RAW is important.

Scarab Sages

2 people marked this as a favorite.
RealAlchemy wrote:
All this is still useful information, even if I can't do quite what I wanted to do, since it looks like some of what I'm after will still work :) One of those cases where exact phrasing of the RAW is important.

Any chance you could ask the question directly? What are you specifically trying to do?


Murdock Mudeater wrote:
RealAlchemy wrote:
All this is still useful information, even if I can't do quite what I wanted to do, since it looks like some of what I'm after will still work :) One of those cases where exact phrasing of the RAW is important.
Any chance you could ask the question directly? What are you specifically trying to do?

This is for a multiclassed eldritch scion magus/paladin. I was trying to determine what is required to use the wand wielder magus arcana with paladin wands. As far as I can tell it requires the wand wielder and the broad study magus arcana, as well as levels in paladin. The question was whether having a caster level in paladin would be required, or simply to have levels in paladin. This decides what levels go in which order.


It looks like you just need 1 level in paladin, from how I am reading it. Paladins and rangers can use wands from their spell list at levels 1-3 with no problem.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Texas Snyper wrote:
It looks like you just need 1 level in paladin, from how I am reading it. Paladins and rangers can use wands from their spell list at levels 1-3 with no problem.

Yup, he's in the clear. Wands are spell trigger items, and the rules for spell trigger items explicitly list an underleveled Paladin as an example:

Spell Trigger wrote:
Spell trigger items can be used by anyone whose class can cast the corresponding spell. This is the case even for a character who can’t actually cast spells, such as a 3rd-level paladin.

So only 1 level of Paladin is necessary.


1 is necessary, but 3 gives paladin saves and immunities :)


RealAlchemy wrote:
1 is necessary, but 3 gives paladin saves and immunities :)

I'd stop at 2, personally. The saves make the immunities less important, and 2 levels in the limit of the Magical Knack trait so the cost of further multiclassing is higher beyond that point.

Scarab Sages

RealAlchemy wrote:
1 is necessary, but 3 gives paladin saves and immunities :)

The Paladin Saves are really only good if you have high CHA. Their immunities are nice, though.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Rules Questions / Definition of "spellcasting class" All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.