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My friend is trying to build a lawful neutral paladin, who has an oath with a god of death. (the raven queen specifically) and was looking through the PHB.

OATH SPELLS Each oath has a list of associated spells. You gain access to these spells at the level description. Once you gain access to an oath spell, you always have it prepared. Oath spells don't count against the number of spells you can prepare each day. If you gain an oath spell that doesn't appear on the paladin spelllist, the spell is nonetheless a paladin spell for you.

Now I've read this thoroughly, and it says that the spells are always prepared. Does that mean that the spells can be used as many times as the paladin see fit? As often as they like? I feel as though I should know this, but for the life of me i'm not confident in an answer.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Im curious what makes you think any spell....available to any spellcaster....can only be used a finite number of times? \$\endgroup\$ – Airatome Nov 25 '17 at 6:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ Usually they can only use them a number of times equal to the spell slots they have. These spells seem different though being as they are always prepared. The spell slots are there to have the spells that are prepared to be used. If these spells are always prepared, couldn't one use them as many times as they felt necessary during the battle? \$\endgroup\$ – Thatguy Nov 25 '17 at 6:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ This may be relevant to your confusion: rpg.stackexchange.com/q/44736/23064 \$\endgroup\$ – daze413 Nov 25 '17 at 8:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ If you've ever played Final Fantasy (the classic NES version), that's a pretty close representation to how magic works in D&D. In the game, you "prepare" up to three spells per spell level, and then you can cast those spells in any combination until you exhaust the spell points for that level, which are recharged by resting. The same general idea is how it works in D&D, except you can cast a lower-level spell in a higher-level slot, usually with increased potency. \$\endgroup\$ – phyrfox Nov 26 '17 at 9:34
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Yes, if there are spell slots available to cast them with.

The Oath spells add choices, not spell slots, to the Paladin's magical arsenal.

To answer by way of illustration

Paladin, Oath of Vengeance, 5th level, Charisma 16 (+3 mod).

  1. How many spell slots does the Paladin have to expend for this adventure day?

    4 1st level spells, 2 2d level spells (p. 83, PHB, Spell Slots per level)

    To cast one of your spells, you must expend a slot of the spell's leverl, or higher. You regain all expended spell slots when you finish a long rest. (p. 84 PHB)

  2. How many prepared spells does the Paladin have to choose from when deciding that he needs to cast a spell?

    Preparing and casting Spells (p. 84 PHB)

    You prepare the list of Paladin Spells that are available for you to cast, choosing from the Paladin Spell list. {See PHB p. 208 for 1st and 2d level Paladin Spells}.

    Note that there are more spells available than you can prepare on a given day. How many total spells can you prepare?

    Choose the number of paladin spells equal to your spell casting modifier (+3 for 16 Charisma) plus one half of your Paladin Level, rounded down.

    Before we consider Oath Spells, you can prepare 3 + 5/2 = 5 spells total.

    OK, pick a total of 5 spells from the list on page 208. Let's pick: 3 firsts and 2 seconds for simplicity
    Bless, Command, Cure Wounds (1)
    Magic Weapon, Lesser Restoration (2)

    The Paladin can cast 4 first level spells, and 2 second level spells before running out of slots, and cannot cast any spell that was not prepared. (Such as Wrathful Smite, since that spell was not prepared). The paladin can instead cast 6 first level spells, by using a two second level slots to cast, for example, Cure Wounds cast at second level twice on grievously wounded comrades.

  3. How do Oath Spells Figure into this?

    Oath Spells increase the number of choices, not the number of spell slots. Add the following prepared spells for free to your prepared list.
    Bane, Hunter's Mark
    Hold Person, Misty step. (P. 88 PHB)

    The paladin has the same 4 first level slots, and the same 2 second level slots, but can now choose from additional spells that were otherwise not prepared from the list: these are always prepared due to the oath chosen.

    The choices, now, when choosing to cast a spell and having a slot to expend, are:
    Bless, Command, Cure Wounds (1) Bane, Hunter's Mark
    Magic Weapon, Lesser Restoratino (2) Hold Person, Misty step
    Whichever spell is chosen, a spell slot is still expended when the spell is cast.

    When the paladin gets to sixth level, he can prepare six spells (+3 + 6/2 = 6) from the list, and still has the Oath Spells prepared "for free" even though the paladin must always a slot to cast any spell.

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Yes

A Paladin can use their Oath spells, just like any other Paladin spell, multiple times.

But only as long as they have spell slots to spend on using them.

There may be some confusion on what 'always prepared' means. A Paladin, like the Cleric and Druid classes, prepares their spells each day between Long Rests, choosing spells from the entire list of Paladin spells that they have proper slots to cast, up to a certain maximum number of spells based on your Paladin level plus Charisma Modifier.

These prepared spells then must be cast using spell slots.

Once a Paladin of sufficient level starts gaining Bonus Spells from their Oath of choice, they gain spells that... in addition to the spells they choose to prepare every day between rests... are always prepared, cannot be changed, and do not count against that certain maximum number of spells. They do still require slots to cast, however.

Also, casting a prepared spell does not unprepare it, and so you may keep using slots to cast any spell the Paladin has prepared for that day, including the bonus Oath Spells.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Aren't the spell slots the number of spells they can prepare each day though? Because you can't prepare more than you have spell slots for, so does the spell being prepared mean that its always ready. I thought it was like the spells they know. You can know more spells than you can have spell slots for. But you can't prepare all the spells you know... \$\endgroup\$ – Thatguy Nov 25 '17 at 6:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ That is wrong. If I am a Paladin level 4, I only have 3 level 1 slots and 2 level 2 slots (by example...not sure on accuracy) ...5 slots total. If I have a Charisma of 20 (A Cha mod of +5) that means I can prepare 9 spells total (Paladin L4 + Cha Mod 5 = 9). Plus my Oath Spells. That gives me 11 spells total (an extra 2 from the Level 3 Oath Spell list) every day. My slots have absolutely no baring on that. It just means I only have 5 slots to cast 11 possible spells with. Quite a hard decision....and makes every choice matter. \$\endgroup\$ – Airatome Nov 25 '17 at 6:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Thatguy give the chapter on magic a good read through - you sound like you've played 3.5e and the word "prepared" means something completely different in 5e :) \$\endgroup\$ – Erik Nov 25 '17 at 7:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ Must specifically state an exception to the Spellcasting feature rule...of which some of the above listed are. Oath Spells, Domain Spells,Circle Spells...are none of those exeptions. \$\endgroup\$ – Airatome Nov 25 '17 at 7:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Thatguy Spell slots are different to spells prepared. Some classes learn a set number of spells when they level up, and can cast from those spells only. Other classes gain access to the whole list, but can only cast spells that they've prepared that day. A cleric's "spells prepared" is equivalent to a sorcerer's "spells known." A spell that is prepared can be cast, which expends a spell slot, but does not remove it from your list of prepared spells. The only thing that changes what's on your list of prepared spells is when you re-do your spell preparation after a long rest. \$\endgroup\$ – anaximander Nov 25 '17 at 15:28
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Yes

But only as many times as you have spell slots. The entry stating that they are always prepared just means that they don't count against the number of spells that the paladin can prepare every day. They still have to spend spell slots to cast them, just like any other spells.

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