Problems with Divine magic


Prerelease Discussion


I think there is a problem with divine prepared spellcasters.
I mean, a wizard obviously has to prepare his own spells every morning by studying his book, which makes sense.
But a cleric who meditates to prepare his spells has access to the entire list of available spells, and this leaves me very perplexed. Should not it have a prayer book containing the invocations to be made to one's own deity on specific spells?
If we pretend to be really in a fantasy world, the spell list contained in the manual does not exhaust the full range of possible spells (it's just a practical matter). How does the cleric know how to ask the deity in front of the infinite possibilities presented to him? "Please Serenrae give me the ability to heal" and the goddess gives him the Cure Light Wounds spell?
I hope I was clear. I do not think that the way cleric prepares their spells makes sense. He should also have a prayer book similar to the wizard.We could perhaps introduce differences at this point. For example, a cleric who loses his book could still prepare spells, unlike the wizard, invoking his divinity, and the spells conferred could be chosen by the GM until the cleric returns a book.
In addition, a cleric who has made an action not serious enough to lose the favor of his divinity but in any case contrary to his ethics could find himself with a spell different from the one requested.
A druid instead of coming into contact with nature to prepare his spells may have access to a different list depending on where he is. Why can a druid in the desert prepare the Tsunami spell when it is something obviously contrary to the nature that surrounds it?
A druid who obtains his powers from nature should have spells in relation to the place that surrounds him ...

What do you think? I understand that all this could complicate the game mechanics.
Honestly, I hope there are changes in how to prepare spells because at the moment it seems illogical to me.

Silver Crusade

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TXT02 wrote:
"Please Serenrae give me the ability to heal" and the goddess gives him the Cure Light Wounds spell?

That is exactly how it works.


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I always imagined that a cleric preparing their spells would be more like prayer to regain the favor of the gods and be imbued with their power. And then when he uses spells it's more that he channels the divine favor bestowed upon him, so not really spellcasting.


I've proposed this elsewhere, but I think the "feel" of divine casting could be better represented as a combination of 3.5E Warmage casting and 2E Shai'ir casting. To wit:

  • Clerics etc do not know the entire divine list.
  • The cleric knows their domain spells, as well as one or two additional spells they choose at each level. These spells are always prepared and can be cast spontaneously.
  • The cleric can pray to their deity when in need of additional power. To represent this, they have a point pool or floating spell slots. You can ask for a spell you don't know and when the deity or its servants respond, those spells become prepared for you for the day.
  • Asking for a spell from one of your deity's other domains that you didn't pick will get that spell in the next round. Asking for some other random spell not in your deity's sphere of influence will not get the spell for 10 minutes, and will burn two of your points / preparatory slots instead of one.

This way, the cleric is more focused. They know some general magic but it's mostly tightly focused on their deity's sphere of influence. They can pray for anything, because gods are powerful, but spells outside their sphere of influence cost them and can't be obtained in the middle of battle.


As for druids, Hm. Maybe assign each spell on the Nature list to environment types, like "warm" or "forest." Most spells would belong to two or three environments.

The druid can always prepare spells suiting their current environment, no problem. They can still get spells from any other environment, but must either spend an extra spell slot or a point of Resonance to get them.


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The Eternal Keeper wrote:
I always imagined that a cleric preparing their spells would be more like prayer to regain the favor of the gods and be imbued with their power. And then when he uses spells it's more that he channels the divine favor bestowed upon him, so not really spellcasting.

I'e always thought this was a better representation of what the Divine "spell casting" should be, and it should then actually be a series of Supernatural powers bestowed on them (as opposed to actual spells to cast). This makes it thematically and mechanically different (and conveniently explains why they can cast in armor).


Historically, in D&D, the Cleric didn't select her spells - her Deity did. She could pray to be granted a particular set of spells each morning, but what she actually got was determined by the DM.

While this would undoubtedly beunpopular today, it did help compensate for the small number of spells per day as the DM could ensure that the character always had spells that would be useful on a given day.


Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Yeah... I always had that weird feeling with the cleric spells, I don't like the feeling either. But I really don't know how to make it better. :S
I guess that having a small book of prayer and "learning" the prayers like a Wizard could work, and would fit with the image of (religious) monks being also scribes copying holy texts... o_o Oh yeah, that actually fit. Uh.


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I dont like spell points or pool systems. I like that the players have to work with what they have. Anticipating, managing resources, and smart play is what im after. If you choose poorly, well then things get interesting.

That is why im fine with how PF1 works out prepared and spontaneous casting. I could be down with taking away a clerics ability to use the entire list and instead focus their list like wizards though.


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The Cleric's full access to his spell list is one of the more problematic things about the class for balance purposes too. No other class gets directly more powerful and versatile every time a splatbook comes out. I would be very much in favor of limiting their known spell list somehow.

EDIT: Except Druid, and any other prepared divine caster classes I may be forgetting. lol


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Crayon wrote:

Historically, in D&D, the Cleric didn't select her spells - her Deity did. She could pray to be granted a particular set of spells each morning, but what she actually got was determined by the DM.

While this would undoubtedly beunpopular today, it did help compensate for the small number of spells per day as the DM could ensure that the character always had spells that would be useful on a given day.

Historically? What edition are you referring to, I’ve played all but 4e, still have them all and I don’t recall this in any of them.

In AD&D spells level 1 and 2 actually worked a lot like wizard spells in that you learned them and could cast them, even if you didn’t currently have a deity at the time. They were rituals. Spells level 3 through 5 required some divine agent to pass on to you the power to cast them. And technically spells of level 6 and 7 (cleric’s top spell level was 7 back then) required actual divine action to get them, so some interupted that to mean you needed to cast the commune spell to request spells of those levels. Remember clerics back then had far few spells and spell levels and their spells did not scale flame strike did 5d8 damage regardless of level where as fireball did d6 per level of the caster...no max number.

My DM back in the 80s actually came up with small spell lists per tradition within the churches he had defined. It tended to be about 8 spells for level 1-5 and 6 for levels 6 and 7, he did the same when 3.0 came out. I think this method works well.

Liberty's Edge

Clerics are weird.

In theory, in battle they're calling a miracle. The cleric doesn't cast the spell, they pray and the god grants them a minor miracle. The cleric doesn't cast cure light wounds, they just whisper a quick entreatment to Serenrae to restore their injured ally.

Which is odd as, by preparing spells in advance, the cleric is basically picking which miracles they have memorized.

In terms of flavour, clerics do work better as spontaneous casters. Or even a class that doesn't even prepare spells but just knows their entire list and picks from it each time they cast. But that's suuuper complicated.

However, spontaneous clerics run into the problem that prompted clerics to know all their spells: rare but necessary spells. No spontaneous cleric with limited spells wants to memorize remove curse or cure disease or lesser restoration or neutralize poison. They pick the spells they want to use all the time in every adventuring day, not the spells they'll use once every other level. The cleric might not always prep stone to flesh but when the fighter is a statue that's a spell you really need to be able to cast.

It'd be awesome if Pathfinder 2 could break away from the preparatory cleric spellcasting design. Make it match the flavor and narrative.


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That could be make in different way.
Cleric can pray about anything that is within God's powers (no more common cleric list - only Domain specific!!!) - but it takes time.
But he can pray in advance - and sort of hold them.


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Maybe this is why oracles were mentioned in the last blog -- if they are beefing up domains to become more like oracle mysteries and limiting spells known by a cleric, then the mechanical distance between clerics and oracles is greatly reduced.


Just lore-wise I prefer how Oracles work ("For reasons unclear to me, I have access to a font of esoteric power and fundamental truths mortals should not know") than "I pray to my god and get spells."

So if we need to widen the gap between clerics and oracles again, let's emphasize the curse and the mystery and tone down the "general casting. Make oracular magic more primal, turbulent, and uncontrollable than deity-driven magic.


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This is why I liked the old 2nd edition sphere system. Gods grant spheres based on their spheres of influence. Divine spells fell into spheres much like arcane schools and depending on the level of access your deity granted, determined your spell access.

IE: gods of murder and death rarely if ever had access to spells that brought people back to life because its antithetical to their interests.

Itd be more work for design but IMO a great way to bring flavor and variance to clerics of different gods while preventing the limitless access of 3.0/3.5 clerics


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TBH I'd probably most preferably went with cloistered cleric - priest class with weak fighting skills and let's say Five Divine Spheres building their spellbook, and Templar Warpriests with two domains.

I'd give oracles greater variety - some revelation/mystery powers but other than that - choose themselves.

Cleric have more known spells but more limitations on them - based on Spheres, oracle know less spells, cast more spells, but except few spells, rest are freely chosen from ALL DIVINE SPELLS.


Quote:

This is why I liked the old 2nd edition sphere system. Gods grant spheres based on their spheres of influence. Divine spells fell into spheres much like arcane schools and depending on the level of access your deity granted, determined your spell access.

I'd do it like it.

Rather than free advancing of levels - cleric can on every level choose to advance his insight into two divine domains. Full casting cleric can know at best five of his divine patron domains - at any time any domain level cannot be higher than 1/2 of his level.

While wizard get insight into three magic schools, and go on approprately...

Liberty's Edge

If I were redesigning clerics, I'd rethink how they gained and cast spells.

I think I'd do something akin to the Rituals in 5e, allowing clerics to just cast any of their spells all of the time. Only it would take 10 minutes to an hour depending on the spell. So you could cast lesser restoration anytime, but it'd still take that spell slot.
At higher levels, there could be features that allow a cleric to rapidly perform a ritual, using it in combat.

In addition, domains and archetypes would add additional spells/ abilities that could be cast anytime as an action (or 3). These would be the round-by-round powers used by the characters in combat.


I view divine magic differently.

A paladin prays to heal, and divine energy flows through him to heal.

A cleric, though, has a reservoir of divine energy to power her spells, and she must still learn the proper verbal/somatic components to transform that reservoir of potential energy into actual magic.

I would be on board with limiting what spells clerics know, but it could be frustrating for book-keeping.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Thurgon wrote:
Crayon wrote:

Historically, in D&D, the Cleric didn't select her spells - her Deity did. She could pray to be granted a particular set of spells each morning, but what she actually got was determined by the DM.

While this would undoubtedly beunpopular today, it did help compensate for the small number of spells per day as the DM could ensure that the character always had spells that would be useful on a given day.

Historically? What edition are you referring to, I’ve played all but 4e, still have them all and I don’t recall this in any of them.

Yeah DM's have never selected the clerics spells. Of note, depending on your interpretation, clerics had spell books in the original OD&D.

"BOOKS OF SPELLS:

Characters who employ spells are assumed to acquire books containing the spells they can use, one book for each level. ..."

This wasn't specifically applying to Magic Users, just flat out stated


RangerWickett wrote:

I view divine magic differently.

A paladin prays to heal, and divine energy flows through him to heal.

A cleric, though, has a reservoir of divine energy to power her spells, and she must still learn the proper verbal/somatic components to transform that reservoir of potential energy into actual magic.

I would be on board with limiting what spells clerics know, but it could be frustrating for book-keeping.

I mean it would be MORE work and bookkeeping but limiting access from "all the spells" to "these spells that work within your diety's spheres of influence" should only make it easier for players at the table.


Clerics, actually, healers of any type are in need of something...anything to make them interesting enough that people want to actually play them. It's like pulling teeth to find a healer for a game. Can we get something to make them a little more fun to play?


Janet Kuhlmann wrote:
Clerics, actually, healers of any type are in need of something...anything to make them interesting enough that people want to actually play them. It's like pulling teeth to find a healer for a game. Can we get something to make them a little more fun to play?

Cleric, Shaman, Warpriest(Tank mode), Orcale, Druid, Bard to a degree, heck Alchemist.

There's a bunch of ways to play Healer. Different circles form me but I haven't had an issue with finding the "Support" role empty. Though in my experience it's rare to have 1 sole support and the role scattered around the party or the items.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Sometimes it’s a matter of simplicity and page space and I never saw it as the Cleric knows every spell on their list. It’s that their deity knows all those miracles and grants them to their devout champion on the mortal realm.


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Fuzzypaws wrote:
I've proposed this elsewhere, but I think the "feel" of divine casting could be better represented as a combination of 3.5E Warmage casting and 2E Shai'ir casting. To wit:

I will second this wholeheartedly. I will Nth it for as many separate individuals as I personally count as.

Barebones Cleric spell list, plus two Domain spell lists, plus Advanced Learning.

And then Sha'ir Spell Retrieval. Perfection.

Fuzzypaws wrote:
As for druids, Hm. Maybe assign each spell on the Nature list to environment types, like "warm" or "forest." Most spells would belong to two or three environments.

For Druids, I would do Sorcerer spontaneous, with some subclass feature that grants additional Spells Known.


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Janet Kuhlmann wrote:
Clerics, actually, healers of any type are in need of something...anything to make them interesting enough that people want to actually play them. It's like pulling teeth to find a healer for a game. Can we get something to make them a little more fun to play?

Not a problem I've experienced. Why do people think the Cleric's unpopular?


Crayon wrote:
Janet Kuhlmann wrote:
Clerics, actually, healers of any type are in need of something...anything to make them interesting enough that people want to actually play them. It's like pulling teeth to find a healer for a game. Can we get something to make them a little more fun to play?
Not a problem I've experienced. Why do people think the Cleric's unpopular?

Because quite frankly they're dull. You get spellcasting, a pair of domains that feel lukewarm at best, and channels. The chassis simply doesn't impress compared to others with cool flavor or choices. That and prepped casters generally aren't as popular due to being more book keeping compared to spontaneous.


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I mean, the Cleric in PF1 was likely one of the examples that lead to PF2's very modular class design, since a Cleric makes no class defining choices (other than feats and skill point allocation, which every class does) after level 1 when they select their domains.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

It’s funny looking at the PF1e Beta, the cleric has class features going all the way to 20th tied to their domains. But between 9th level casting medium BaB and space issues in the book the domain powers were cut way down.

(Mind you not all those powers were winners, but still it was a feature every other level)


Jester David wrote:

Clerics are weird.

In theory, in battle they're calling a miracle. The cleric doesn't cast the spell, they pray and the god grants them a minor miracle. The cleric doesn't cast cure light wounds, they just whisper a quick entreatment to Serenrae to restore their injured ally.

Which is odd as, by preparing spells in advance, the cleric is basically picking which miracles they have memorized.

They pray to their deity for their spells each day, and their deity causes the spells to be prepared. The Cleric is still the one casting the spell.


Quote:
Clerics, actually, healers of any type are in need of something...anything to make them interesting enough that people want to actually play them. It's like pulling teeth to find a healer for a game. Can we get something to make them a little more fun to play?

With variety of cool religions, does you need really something interesting.

You can just make healing in-fight harder to point of impossible, therefore clerics would do other things in combat while not having to heal people.

And they can do quite a lot.

In my FR LN cleric of Jergal is one of frontliners, and while he heal here and there it's really not... much, of his doings.
He fries people with touch channels much better...

Quote:

Because quite frankly they're dull. You get spellcasting, a pair of domains that feel lukewarm at best, and channels. The chassis simply doesn't impress compared to others with cool flavor or choices. That and prepped casters generally aren't as popular due to being more book keeping compared to spontaneous.

Now it's hard thing to do, but I consider making Unfettered Cleric without common spell list, with all special abilities tied to specific domains - and domains advancement with levels...


DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

It’s funny looking at the PF1e Beta, the cleric has class features going all the way to 20th tied to their domains. But between 9th level casting medium BaB and space issues in the book the domain powers were cut way down.

(Mind you not all those powers were winners, but still it was a feature every other level)

I had forgotten extra domain powers. Something like that would help make the cleric more interesting. As it is in PF1, I would rather play a warpriest or paladin than a cleric due to the lack of interesting features.


I'm not so sure. The cleric was already one of the most OP classes in the game and I generally don't think adding features for the sake of having features is a good idea from a design or character perspective

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