Project Arcana: Divinus Spell List


“Thank you for this beautiful day, god. Now let’s f* some shit up!”

For weeks now we’ve been chucking spells into Divinus without providing a solid discussion of the school. It’s time to fix that.

Let’s start by stating that Divinus is more than just a school. Divine magic is fundamentally different from arcane magic. Sure, arcane magic is ‘magic’, but it’s magic with a lowercase ‘m’. It’s a manipulable energy that can cause effects in the planes of existence in predictable ways. It follows rules and has strict limits on its capabilities; in order for it to work, certain acts must be executed with precision.

Gods, however, are above and beyond rules. In most planes, gods create rules. Divine magic isn’t systematic, it’s miraculous. Divine spells are actualizations of the wills of gods; if a god decides something will happen, it happens. So divine magic is in no way bound by the strictures of arcane magic.

Nor are clerics required to learn their magic in the same way. If a god wants a devotee to have the ability to perform a spell, he performs it. Yes, there are lists of spells and requirements to execute clerical magic. However, these rules were created to make life easier for DMs and players and to maintain balance within the game, not because gods are limited. And while an arcane magic user is himself the initiator and wielder of the magic, clerics serve merely as conduits of the power and desires of their gods. Without their gods, clerics are powerless; as a class they have no innate magic, no power they themselves wield. If a cleric falls out of favor with his god, he becomes a moderately skilled fighter in an itchy bathrobe.

Finally, setting Divinus apart from arcane magic is exactly what sets clerics apart from other mages: Their alignment directly affects their access to magic. An arcane mage can be of any alignment and still have access to the same spells as any other magic user of his class. This is clearly not the case with Clerics, who must reflect the alignment of their god (or fall into disfavor) and whose spells may change depending on that alignment.

So, let’s define Divinus so:

Divinus is magic that the wills of gods made reality. It relies on the favor of the god toward the wielder, and often confers the blessings or inflicts the displeasure of that god on the target.

But there are many Clerical spells that are just the same as arcane spells. `That’s always been the case in D&D, and for good reasons:

  1.  Gods can grant whatever abilities they like. If they want to give their clerics ‘Create Water’ and have it function just like the arcane spell, they can do that.
  2. Coming up with entirely separate lists of Clerical spells would be a pain in the ass.

However, there wasn’t a lot of spell overlap between divine casters and arcane casters back in the day.

Let’s take a look at the list of spells PA has identified as being too wonky or too holy to work as arcane:

Divinus
Aura of Purity (*Abjuration, Paladin)
Banishing Smite (*Abjuration, Paladin)
Beacon of Hope (*Abjuration, Cleric)
Bless (*Enchantment, Paladin/Cleric)
Commune (*Divination, Cleric)
Crusader's Mantle (*Evocation, Paladin)
Destructive Wave (*Evocation, Paladin)
Dispel Evil and Good (*Abjuration, Cleric)
Divine Favor (*Evocation, Paladin)
Divine Word (*Evocation, Cleric)
Hallow (*Evocation, Cleric)
Holy Aura (*Abjuration, Cleric)
Prayer of Healing (*Evocation, Cleric)
Protection from Evil and Good (*Abjuration, Cleric/Paladin)
Sacred Flame (*Evocation, Cleric)
Shield of Faith (*Abjuration, Paladin)
Spiritual Weapon (*Evocation, Cleric)

Divinus Spells

Banishing Smite was originally part of Abjuration, and it contains elements of both Evocation (force damage) and Conjuration (banishment), making it a poor fit for either of those. That and the fact that it is a Paladin spell put it firmly into Divinus.

Dispel Evil and Good and Protection from Evil and Good also come over from Aburation, and their emphasis on affecting good and evil (and not merely detecting it) reflect the importance of alignment evident in Divinus magic.

Shield of Faith (Abjuration), Bless (Enchantment), Crusader’s Mantle (Evocation), Destructive Wave (Evocation), Divine Favor (Evocation), Divine Word (Evocation), Hallow (Evocation) all expressly pass the power and blessings of a god. These were an easy call.

Commune (Divination) is a spell that specifically allows the caster to talk to a god. Unlike Guidance, Commune specifically allows you to talk to your god. That puts it firmly into the Divinus camp.

Suggested Spell

Revival
2nd-level Clerical Spell (Divinus)
Casting Time: 1 hour
Range: Voice
Components:
 S,V,M
Duration: 24 hours

During the casting time of the spell, the caster gains the power of inspiring speech. Any creature who understands the caster and is within hearing for the duration of the cast must make a Wisdom saving throw or be charmed by the caster and converted to his religion. Once converted, the creatures will enthusiastically follow the strictures of their new religion as long as the strictures are not directly harmful to the creature. All spell effects wear off after 24 hours, and the creature knows that it was affected.

At higher levels. By using a spell slot of level 4, the caster may cure 1 disease or disability during the casting. By using a spell slot of level 6, those converted will willingly give half of their personal possessions to the caster.