According to the Pathfinder rules on Arcanists

An arcanist must choose and prepare her spells ahead of time by getting 8 hours of sleep and spending 1 hour studying her spellbook. While studying, the arcanist decides what spells to prepare and refreshes her available spell slots for the day.

It makes sense that, if she loses her spell book, she can't change the spells she has currently memorized. But this also implies that she can't also refresh her slots.

Let's assume an Arcanist in the following situation:

  • She has lost her primary spellbook, with ALL her spells
  • she still has her secondary spellbook, with ONE level-1 spell
  • Currently, she has spent half her slots
  • After a night of sleep, she study her secondary spellbook

What happens? (i.e.: does she "forget" the spells she still has in memory? in that case, wouldn't it be better to NOT study so she doesn't forget them? Does all her slots get refreshed? Or only the level-1 slots? What's the logic behind your ansswer?)

Wouldn't it be better/simpler to simply says that, like the sorcerer, she regains her slots automatically, but like the wizard, she needs to study to change the spells she has in memory?


2 Answers 2


The Arcanist is very singular in Pathfinder - a spellcaster who prepares spells, but still casts spontaneously. Even though the casting is spontaneous, the preparation of spells clearly acts just like for a Wizard. The rules for the Arcanist don't list any sort of expiry for Prepared spells, so this is really left to GM interpretation. However, the rules for Wizard's preparing spells says, in part -

Until he prepares spells from his spellbook, the only spells a wizard has available to cast are the ones that he already had prepared from the previous day and has not yet used. During the study period, he chooses which spells to prepare. If a wizard already has spells prepared (from the previous day) that he has not cast, she can abandon some or all of them to make room for new spells.

Again, this does not exactly apply to the Arcanist, but for myself, I would rule that the Arcanist would retain whatever prepared spells he or she had previously prepared, but could, as per a wizard, drop any or all of those prepared spells during preparations. However, they would only be able to re-prepare whatever spells were in the backup Spellbook, along with Read Magic.

Personally, I would also rule that an Arcanist would refresh spell slots during preparation regardless of whether or not a spellbook was available, although this is not explicitly mentioned in the rules one way or the other.


Since its the act of reading the book that reminds her of how to cast the spells. Then i would argue that if she reads the backup spell book she can get her spell slots back but not her spells from the first book since spells are very complicated and its important to get every part of the spell right.

Therefor i would say she can only use the spells from her backup book since d20pfsrd.com says this:

An arcanist must study her spellbook each day to prepare her spells. She can’t prepare any spell not recorded in her spellbook, except for read magic (which all arcanists can prepare from memory).

(replying to parcebal) I would say the act of sleeping is what resets the spellbook and her memory since you cant get any part of the spell wrong.

  • \$\begingroup\$ So, when an Arcanist loses her spellbook and has no backup, the next day, she has no spell at all because she forgot it all during the night? Is the act of sleeping damaging to her memory, and if she remains awake, does she keep her spells? Or is it sunrise that makes her forget? :-) \$\endgroup\$
    – paercebal
    Commented Sep 24, 2018 at 9:43

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