In a campaign I'm in, I'm playing as an Eldritch Scion Magus who believes that he's a paladin of the dead god Aroden. My GM and I have been discussing everything that would happen once Aroden is revived. (A major event planned for our campaign). One of the possibilities is my character being treated as a divine caster or being treated as both a divine and arcane caster. Meaning I would still be an ES Magus who is casting shocking grasp, but it would be treated as a divine spell.

I initially thought this would be mostly a flavor option, but I've been finding that there are many abilities that function only on one type of magic, such as the Archmage path's spell resistance or the History of Heresy trait's +1 on saves.

What are the pros and cons of being a divine caster? What are the pros and cons of being both?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Related: rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/97924/… \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    May 24, 2017 at 19:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Would the Magus be able to choose if her spells were Arcane or Divine, would they be permanently one or the other, or would they be both? \$\endgroup\$
    – GreySage
    May 24, 2017 at 19:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @GreySage Permanently one or the other, or both. \$\endgroup\$
    – whatdice
    May 24, 2017 at 22:54

2 Answers 2


Feats and Prerequisites: Certain feats like Arcane Strike (and a lot of prestige classes) rely on the user being able to cast arcane spells - you should consult with your DM on how that would be affected by this.

Magic Items: Certain magic items like incense of meditation specifically mention that the user must be an arcane or divine caster, so you'll need to determine how those items would affect you. Personally, I would rule that incense of meditation doesn't affect you, because that would be really OP on a magus.

Enemy Abilities: Enemies may gain certain advantages against you depending on whether you are an arcane or divine caster. For example, if an antipaladin used Smite Good on you, you might take double smite damage on the first hit like a cleric or paladin would (RAW it just says clerics and paladins, but your GM might rule that it applies).

Other Stuff: As a divine caster, presumably you would technically have orisons as 0th-level spells rather than cantrips. I'm not aware of any mechanics that actually draw a distinction between the two, but it could come up.

While not strictly related to divine spellcasting, your DM may decide that you have the same aura that a cleric or paladin would, and thus are more visible to detect good and may be affected differently by certain spells like righteous blood. Similarly, you could potentially be barred from casting certain spells based on your alignment like clerics are, like summon monster for creatures with certain subtypes.

Story Consequences: Beyond the strict game mechanics, certain regions of Golarion take a dim view of religion and the gods. If your character should ever find himself in one of those places, things could get interesting if his magic is determined to be divine rather than arcane.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ About the aura, druids, rangers, inquisitors, oracles and shaman are divine casters without the Aura class feature. \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    May 24, 2017 at 20:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ShadowKras That's true, I've softened the statement accordingly. Given that he seems to be thinking in terms of "paladin", though, I wouldn't be surprised if he does wind up with the aura. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ben S.
    May 24, 2017 at 20:44

The change that will most affect your character is the removal of Arcane Spell Failure, which the magus has two important class abilities simply to mitigate it:

Medium Armor (Ex)

At 7th level, a magus gains proficiency with medium armor. A magus can cast magus spells while wearing medium armor without incurring the normal arcane spell failure chance. Like any other arcane spellcaster, a magus wearing heavy armor or using a shield incurs a chance of arcane spell failure if the spell in question has a somatic component.

Heavy Armor (Ex)

At 13th level, a magus gains proficiency with heavy armor. A magus can cast magus spells while wearing heavy armor without incurring the normal arcane spell failure chance. Like any other arcane spellcaster, a magus using a shield incurs a chance of arcane spell failure if the spell in question has a somatic component.

That means you are replacing more than one class ability, and this, normally on archetypes, has some kind of drawback associated with it.

The other changes on gameplay and flavor are:

  • You no longer has a spellbook. Which means you will have to figure out another way to learn your spells, either as a cleric (knows all spells) or as an oracle (has a list of spells known);

  • You must choose a time of the day to make your prayers so you can recieve your spells;

  • You no longer have to rest in order to prepare your spells, you simply must respect the time of the day that you have to make your prayers;

  • You must have a divine focus available for most of your spells (the symbol of your god). Those are the spells that were arcane and have a DF component.

  • If your god decides so, you lose all access to your divine spells;

  • If the connection between you and your god is severed or blocked, you lose access to your divine spells until you find a new deity to worship. This can happen on planar travels.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I think you considerably overstate the significance of arcane spell failure, especially for a class that can always wear at least some armor. I would also suggest that such an adaptation would likely want to add alignment restrictions to the spells, which easily matches ASF for inconvenience. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    May 24, 2017 at 20:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan my overstatement is simply due to the lack of archetypes that replace arcane by divine on published materials. \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    May 24, 2017 at 20:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ The only archetype that does anything like that (other than adding specific spells) is the Ancient Lorekeeper, which adds one wizard spell as a Known Bonus Spell every 2 levels, but that spell remains a divine spell. \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    May 24, 2017 at 20:57
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ That is, I suspect, more about protecting class/power source identity than balance. But even if Paizo thinks ASF is important for balance here, they’re wrong and it is appropriate for us as experts to alert readers about that. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    May 24, 2017 at 21:00
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Which is why i mentioned that most ramifications are not game changing. The only one that changes your gameplay significantly is ASF. A cleric can wear heavy armor at first level and cast spells just fine, while a magus will have a high chance of failure on his spells doing so before 13th level. \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    May 24, 2017 at 21:04

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