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We play a mainly Pathfinder system. Sometimes pure .. sometimes with feats and such from 3.5 but conflicts follow the Pathfinder rules.

A Mystic Theurgy (pathfinder prestige class) in our Thursday party pointed out that with scribe scroll he could create a divine scroll of Bull Strength and then scribe it into his spell book so that he could learn it as arcane as well. Now I am sure I remembered a rule saying that mages cannot use clerical scrolls and visa versa but when I read the Pathfinder core rule book it says nothing about that so my memory might be from 3.5.

Can anyone clarify what the rules in Pathfinder are for scroll use? Can a mage use a clerical scroll in this way.

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To me this question boils down to: Are the divine and arcane versions of a spell the same spell, or simple 2 spells with identical effects? –  Colin D Oct 2 '12 at 20:45
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@ColinD Historically (i.e., in AD&D) they've been explicitly two different spells that happen to have the same effect. d20 is much less clear on the matter. –  SevenSidedDie Oct 2 '12 at 21:42

5 Answers 5

Usually, the answer is no. They don't make a big deal about the difference between arcane and divine spells, but there is one, and if you read

Adding Spells to a Wizard's Spellbook

A wizard can also add a spell to his book whenever he encounters one on a magic scroll or in another wizard's spellbook. No matter what the spell's source, the wizard must first decipher the magical writing (see Arcane Magical Writings).

And Arcane Magical Writings

To decipher an arcane magical writing (such as a single spell in another's spellbook or on a scroll), a character must make a Spellcraft check (DC 20 + the spell's level).

You will notice that it says "arcane magical writings" specifically. This means "not divine." So you can not use this procedure to put a divine spell in your spellbook. Even though the spell may be, in the abstract, on your spell list, you have in hand a divine scroll not an arcane scroll.

This should be pretty obvious from precedent from say all other versions of D&D.

Now, the Mystic Theurge is a slightly special case because the whole point of that class is to blur the lines between arcane and divine magic. However, even they do not treat divine magic as arcane or vice versa. This p-class is significatly simplified in Pathfinder and is pretty elegant, what it does is

A mystic theurge can prepare and cast spells from one of his spellcasting classes using the available slots from any of his other spellcasting classes. Spells prepared or cast in this way take up a slot one level higher than they originally occupied.

So your mystic theurge can't do anything with that divine scroll except cast it. He can prepare a bunch of Bull's Strengths using his wizard (or whatever) slots and then a bunch using his cleric (or whatever) slots. In fact, if his divine class is something weird that doesn't have Bull's Strength, he could use 3rd level slots from it to prepare arcane Bull's Strengths. Heck, he could do that anyway with the spell on his list if he felt the need to have about 20 bull's strengths in a given day (all 2nd level arcane slots, all 2nd level divine slots, all 3rd level arcane slots for divine ones, all 3rd level divine slots for arcane ones).

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At first, I agreed with the other answers, but a careful reading of the rules relating to adding a spell to a wizard's spellbook makes me believe that, by RAW, what your player suggests is correct.

This is mainly from two points:

  1. Bull's Strength is a 2nd level wizard spell, so it exists on the Wizard spell list.
  2. There is no mention in the spellbook scribing rules of having to meet the scroll's prerequisites.

Adding spells to a wizard's spellbook

There are only 3 restrictions listed in the above link:

  1. The spell must be on the Wizard class spell list.
  2. The Wizard must 'understand' the scroll (which he automatically does, since he scribed it).
  3. The Wizard must study the scroll for an hour and make a successful spellcraft check.

As long as those three requirements are met, the Wizard can begin the scribing process. This wouldn't work for scrolls of Cure Light Wounds, or other spells that aren't on the Wizard spell list, but for Bull's Strength it should work without a problem.

In addition, this isn't really a powerful tactic. At most, the player is saving the gold price of half a scroll, and is getting assured access to some spells. Honestly, I can't think of a rules or balance reason not to allow this. It's not much more powerful than allowing wizards in the party to share spells out of their spellbooks.

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As additional ammunition, regular wizards can decipher and understand clerical scrolls even if they didn't create them, they simply can't cast them. "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." –  starwed Oct 2 '12 at 18:42
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Since the act performed is 'copying scroll into his spellbook', wouldn't this mean he has a copy of the divine version of the spell? –  Colin D Oct 2 '12 at 20:43
    
-1 originally I did like your answer, but as put in a different answer - the RAW says no. To fudge would likely be a call I might make for time's sake, but in order to clarify rules as the question desires it's not allowable. One slide leads into many others –  LitheOhm Oct 2 '12 at 20:47
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@ColinD There is no "divine" version of the spell by the RAW. A spell can be cast by arcane or divine spellcasters, and it can be written down through arcane or divine writing, but the rules don't support any distinctions other than those. A wizard with Bull's Strength can still counterspell a cleric's attempt to cast it -- both of them are casting the same spell, even if the components and methods might differ. –  starwed Oct 2 '12 at 21:49
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@deltree Technically, if you find a scroll of Bull's Strength "in the wild", it has to be either arcane or divine. Which it is can be discovered through the normal deciphering process. –  DuckTapeAl Oct 4 '12 at 0:20

There are two ways you could get around this, and neither includes Scribe Scroll.

Method 1: Note: This method is exclusive to Pathfinder, as D&D 3.5 Mystic Theurge does not have "Combined Spells".

I refer you to here: http://paizo.com/prd/prestigeClasses/mysticTheurge.html

Combined Spells (Su):

A mystic theurge can prepare and cast spells from one of his spellcasting classes using the available slots from any of his other spellcasting classes. Spells prepared or cast in this way take up a slot one level higher than they originally occupied. This ability cannot be used to cast a spell at a lower level if that spell exists on both spell lists. At 1st level, a mystic theurge can prepare 1st-level spells from one of his spellcasting classes using the 2nd-level slots of the other spellcasting class. Every two levels thereafter, the level of spells that can be cast in this way increases by one, to a maximum of 5th-level spells at 9th level (these spells would take up 6th-level spell slots).

So, a Favored Soul/Wizard/Mystic Theurge, can prepare Divine Spells of up to 5th level as 6th level Arcane Spells. We can agree on that. Cool.

The components of these spells do not change, but they otherwise follow the rules for the spellcasting class used to cast the spell.

Let's take Comprehend Languages as it appears on both lists as a 1st level spell.

To cast it:
A Wizard requires an Arcane Material (A pinch of soot and few grains of salt).
A Favored Soul need only hold their Holy Symbol during the ritual.

So, if your Mystic Theurge knows Comprehend Languages as a Favored Soul, she would:
1. Prepare Comprehend Languages using a 2nd level Wizard slot.
2. When ready to cast the spell, she would hold her Divine Symbol.
3. Upon casting the spell, Comprehend Languages is an Arcane spell, subject to arcane failure rates.

Effectively, the end result is an entirely new spell. Comprehend Languages powered by arcane energy using a divine focus. This is different to both iterations of the spell currently in play.

Alternative to casting the spell, once our Mystic Theurge has prepare Comprehend Languages in a 2nd level Wizard slot, she could write it down into her Wizard Spellbook following the same rules as laid out in Replacing Spellbooks, found here:

http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/magic.html#_arcane-magical-writings

Replacing and Copying Spellbooks:

If he already has a particular spell prepared, he can write it directly into a new book at the same cost required to write a spell into a spellbook. The process wipes the prepared spell from his mind, just as casting it would.

He has Comprehend Languages prepared in his Arcane Spell slot. It is completely within the rules for him to then copy that spell into his Spellbook.

Of course, our Mystic Theurge could take the extra step of scribing it as a scroll (which would be Arcane, and unable to be used by a regular divine caster). Although such a step would be a costly, unnecessary time sync.

This method would need one assumption to be made:
What level would the newly created spell be?
I believe it will be the level it was prepared as when copied down into the spellbook.

Thus:
Arcane Comprehend Languages - Level 1 Wizard
Divine Comprehend Languages - Level 1 Cleric (Favored Soul)
New Comprehend Languages - Level 2 Wizard

Method 2:

Still refering to Arcane Magical Writings:

Independent Research

A wizard can also research a spell independently, duplicating an existing spell or creating an entirely new one. The cost to research a new spell, and the time required, are left up to GM discretion, but it should probably take at least 1 week and cost at least 1,000 gp per level of the spell to be researched. This should also require a number of Spellcraft and Knowledge (arcana) checks.

Here, our Wizard/Favored Soul, even without Mystic Theurge levels (or for spells above 6th level), is able to create new versions of her spells.

Sticking with Comprehend Languages, our Wizard/Favoured Soul knows the effect "Comprehend Languages" is possible through magic using divine energy. Through her studies in the Arcane, she would be able to:

A) Find correspondences between Arcane and Divine procedures that result in similar effects.
OR
B) Through her raw knowledge of Arcane materials, she can experiment with components until she discovers the right ones to produce Comprehend Languages as an arcane caster.

Both of these methods would result in our Wizard/Favored Soul discovering Comprehend Languages in arcane form as it appears in the SRD.

Extrapolating from this, and if allowed by a DM, a character with levels as a Wizard/Favored Soul, would be able to create Arcane versions of all Divine Spells known to the Favored Soul half. Although such antics are likely to get denied by a DM.


Now, regarding the use of scrolls in this situation and why it isn't possible, I begin by refering you to search "Divine Spells" for Pathfinder (I cannot link more). You will find in the first paragraph:

Clerics, druids, experienced paladins, and experienced rangers can cast divine spells. Unlike arcane spells, divine spells draw power from a divine source. Clerics gain spell power from deities or from divine forces. The divine force of nature powers druid and ranger spells, and the divine forces of law and good power paladin spells.

Divine spells are powered by Divine Energy. Arcane spells are powered by a different source. What source? It's anybody's guess, but it ain't Divine.

If you search Pathfinder Scrolls, you'll come to this entry:

Decipher the Writing

The writing on a scroll must be deciphered before a character can use it or know exactly what spell it contains. This requires a read magic spell or a successful Spellcraft check (DC 20 + spell level). Deciphering a scroll is a full-round action.

Deciphering a scroll to determine its contents does not activate its magic unless it is a specially prepared cursed scroll. A character can decipher the writing on a scroll in advance so that she can proceed directly to the next step when the time comes to use the scroll.

Anybody, even non-spellcasters, can determine the nature of a scroll (What spell it contains and whether it's divine/arcane) so long as they're skilled enough.

Activating the Spell

To have any chance of activating a scroll spell, the scroll user must meet the following requirements.
• The spell must be of the correct type (arcane or divine). Arcane spellcasters (wizards, sorcerers, and bards) can only use scrolls containing arcane spells, and divine spellcasters (clerics, druids, paladins, and rangers) can only use scrolls containing divine spells. (The type of scroll a character creates is also determined by his class.)
• The user must have the spell on her class list.
• The user must have the requisite ability score.

Here we are explicitly told an Arcane user can only activate an Arcane spell.

The writing for an activated spell disappears from the scroll as the spell is cast.

I'll come back to this one in just a moment.

If we go back to Arcane Magical Writings, we come to:

Spells Copied form Another's Spellbook or a Scroll

A wizard can also add a spell to his book whenever he encounters one on a magic scroll or in another wizard's spellbook. No matter what the spell's source, the wizard must first decipher the magical writing (see Arcane Magical Writings).

The quote argued above saying "No matter what the spell's source..." does not refer to the nature of divine or arcane, but where the spell is being drawn from: spellbook, scroll, etc. This renders that point moot. Regardless of how you feel about this interpretation, we end up at the same place which is: "Decipher the Magical Writing", which we touched on above.

Personally, it's at this point that the Arcane caster finds the Divine Scroll useless in terms of copying into his spellbook. Once he discovers it's Divine, he would understand it's of no use to him. But let's continue to find out why he would draw this conclusion.

The process leaves a spellbook that was copied from unharmed, but a spell successfully copied from a magic scroll disappears from the parchment.

While this doesn't explicitly state that copying from a scroll into a spellbook is an act of "activating" a spell, it does help build an argument. Both situations result in the spell disappearing from the parchment.

Such an argument is further supported by:

Replacing and Copying Spellbooks

A wizard can use the procedure for learning a spell to reconstruct a lost spellbook. If he already has a particular spell prepared, he can write it directly into a new book at the same cost required to write a spell into a spellbook. The process wipes the prepared spell from his mind, just as casting it would. If he does not have the spell prepared, he can prepare it from a borrowed spellbook and then write it into a new book.

Here, writing a prepared spell into a spellbook, works much as casting it would. While the spell hasn't technically been cast, it requires much of the same energy (An arcane spell slot).

Thus if copying from memory works like casting, copying from a scroll works like activating the scroll. If you cannot activate it, you cannot copy it.

I understand that this interpretation of the rules might not work for some people because it's not explicitly stated. That's okay.

Even ignoring such a conclusion and you allow your Wizard to copy a Divine spell into his Spellbook, his Wizard class does not provide him with any Divine spell slots. He would be unable to prepare the spell as a Wizard because it's powered by divine energy, which he has none of for that class.

If this were a scroll he found in the wild and copied into his spellbook, his divine caster would not be able to prepare from it unless it had Archivist mechanics, where by it prepares spells as a Wizard does. As we know of from above, most divine casters pray for their spells which are granted to them by their patron deities. Most would be unable to prepare from written instructions.

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No, the arcane caster cannot learn/use divine spells.

Citation from the scroll casting section:

To have any chance of activating a scroll spell, the scroll user must meet the following requirements.

  • The spell must be of the correct type (arcane or divine). Arcane spellcasters (wizards, sorcerers, and bards) can only use scrolls containing arcane spells, and divine spellcasters (clerics, druids, paladins, and rangers) can only use scrolls containing divine spells. (The type of scroll a character creates is also determined by his class.)
  • The user must have the spell on her class list.
  • The user must have the requisite ability score.

http://www.d20pfsrd.com/magic-items/scrolls

now the one Steve G. mentioned.

A wizard can only learn new spells that belong to the wizard spell lists.

http://www.d20pfsrd.com/magic#TOC-Adding-Spells-to-a-Wizard-s-Spellbo

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The point is that Bull's Strength is on the wizard list, and a mystic theurge can use both arcane and divine scrolls. I don't think this answer addresses the question at all. –  starwed Oct 2 '12 at 18:29
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Actually I think this section answers my question and gives a very clear section in the rules to point to. A wizard cannot normally use a clerical scroll even if it is on his spell list. –  Duncan Oct 3 '12 at 17:09

Unless otherwise specified, a wizard can only copy spells to his spellbook that are on the Wizard spell list.

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Further, I'd houserule that if a spell is on both lists, there is a big difference between "Great [God], give me a bull's strength" and "Abra-cadabra, give me a bull's strength". –  Pulsehead Oct 2 '12 at 17:43
    
Hello, Steve, and welcome to the site! Could you expand on this answer? What you say is true, but doesn't cover the case here where the spell is on both the Wizard and Cleric spell lists. The question is whether it can be made as a (cleric) scroll and then immediately copied as a (wizard) spell. –  Tynam Oct 2 '12 at 23:04

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