YARC: Arcane vs Divine Magic-Part 1

Arcane and Divine Magic has always bugged me. Let’s face it they both work basically the same. Pray/memorize spells and assign them to slots. Then cast when needed and hope you chose wisely.

The one that’s really bugged me is Divine Magic. It just didn’t sit well with me. I’ve played around with a couple ideas and I think I’ve finally come up with something that works, is fun, and is efficient at the table.

My old idea was that Clerics would pray for their spells as they needed them. You know sort of like a televangelist faith healer. Cool. Kind of fits my idea of how they should work but it’s a real drag at the table as the player flips through the book and finds the exact spell they need.

My working rules runs a bit long the way I’m doing spell allocation for Magic-Users (See below) plus their own mechanics. First, there’s a couple of things that must be chosen when the character is created. When they must pray. I set this at dawn, noon, dusk, or midnight. If the cleric doesn’t pray at the appointed time then they don’t get any spells until their time comes up again. The gods don’t care that you’re in the middle of fight with a bunch of orcs or just slept in because you caroused too much the night before. The second thing chose at first level is a Vow. It’s something extra beyond Alignment or any other limits based on the setting. This can be anything inconvenient or interesting. Maybe something like can never sleep on the ground. Or won’t eat meat. Or will only eat meat. Violating a Vow means the character won’t get any spells until they visit a temple or shrine and atone for their sin.

There’s a couple of things about allocation of spells. First, clerics chose their spells know when they gain a level and can’t change them until they gain a level. So once again choose wisely. A cleric has a number of spells “memorized” equal to their Level+Wisdom Modifier. They highest level of spell that they may have is equal to one half their level.

How many spells can the cleric cast each day? They don’t know. The actual level of the spell doesn’t matter. It’s a power that they have from their god. To determine how many spells that the cleric may cast, I’m combining two ideas. First, the good old Usage Die from Black Hack. I’m calling it a Faith Dice. The second is the Proficiency Die from the 5E DMG for what type of die a cleric gets based on level.

So for Levels 1 to 4, it’s a d4. Levels 5 to 8, d6. Levels 9 to 10, d8. I’m going to Level 10, BTW. So here’s how it works. Cast a spell, roll the Faith Die. If it comes up a 1, then the spell still goes off but if the Faith Die is a d4 then the character is out for the day. If it’s a higher die type then the Faith Die goes down on die step, d6 becomes a d4. Get it?

Saving throws and spell attack rolls are calculated as they are in 5E.

Up next. More thoughts on Arcane Magic. Stay tuned.

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