Meeting the requirements of Mystic Theurge

I plan on being a necromancer and the best way to control more undead is by being a Mystic Theurge. Its a challenging adventure which we are starting for the 3rd time, so I am not interested in going the normal route and taking 3 levels cleric and 3 levels of wizard so at 7th level I can take the first Mystic Theurge. The idea of using Mystic Theurge came from something I read and had not considered before.

So, the requirements are:

Skills: Knowledge (arcana) 3 ranks, Knowledge (religion) 3 ranks.

Spells: Able to cast 2nd-level divine spells and 2nd-level arcane spells.

Under advancing your character, the rules are clear, you must meet the requirements before you can take the prestige class, so I must meet the skill ranks first and spell casting first.

Since I dont know of any way to have 3 points in the skills except being level 3+ I have to be 3rd level.

Now the spell casting is the question.

So magic items are allowed in order to meet the requirement of feats, and those feats can be used to qualify for prestige classes. I wanted a better example of using magic items for prestige classes and found a comment thread where they leaned towards yes.

So, since magic items are allowed, if I took a level in cleric and wizard, and spent the last level somewhere, I would have access to both spell lists. This means that I am able to cast from wands with no check, and scrolls only require a CL check. This assumes no restricted schools and too low ability scores. So as long as I was carrying around scrolls of 2nd level divine and arcane spells, I technically meet the requirement of being able to cast 2nd level spells, because of the weird rule that you are the caster even when its being powered by a magic item. This answer actually has commentary under it based on this exact question.

Racial spells such as he Drow's darkness could also meet the arcane requirement so cleric 3 and wizard 1 for MT at 5th is also possible. Turns out this is not possible.

So, based on this, would I be allowed to take mystic theurge at 4th level?

• More on topic, how is this not a duplicate of the question you linked in "Turns out this is not possible."? – Ifusaso Mar 7 '19 at 0:36
• I think he is saying that the method on that linked answer is not possible at his table. – ShadowKras Mar 7 '19 at 11:27
• @Ifusaso See this FAQ for why your first comment was removed. Thanks! – SevenSidedDie Mar 8 '19 at 6:27
• Fair enough, I just didn't consider it an answer at all – Ifusaso Mar 8 '19 at 22:19

2 Answers

It’s true that item bonuses count towards prerequisites. It’s the whole reason for the temporary/permanent thing you sometimes see on items (where you have to wear the item for 24 hours in order for it to “count” for prerequisites, basically).

However, I doubt you will ever find a GM that allows wands to count towards “ability to cast $$\X\$$th-level spells.” Because wands don’t really give you that ability—you can cast the spell from the wand, but it’s a momentary thing, not an ability you gain. Contrast that with, say, a ring of evasion that just gives you the evasion ability.

If an item gave you the ability to cast spells as long as you wore it (and it would have to be spells and not spell-like abilities), that would be a different story. But as far as I know, no such item exists, and no such item will likely ever exist (and if it ever does, everyone should probably ban it).

Now, mystic theurge is a huge trap. It’s a complete waste of time if you need to enter it at 7th level after three levels in each of two base spellcasting classes. You will never, even remotely, make up for the spellcasting levels you missed out on qualifying for it. So there is room to argue for making mystic theurge enterable at a lower level. But that should be discussed as houserule, not because of some shenanigans, but as a conscious choice by the GM because they agree that the class is awful and needs to be improved. Personally, I recommend “the ability to cast 2nd-level arcane or divine spells, and the ability to cast 1st-level spells of the opposite type.” That allows you to enter at 5th, and one of your spellcasting progressions has lost only 1 effective level.

• Sure, it's an artifact, but shield of the sun is a thing. And, really, the aspiring mystic theurge need only borrow it long enough to level up, right? :-) – Hey I Can Chan Mar 7 '19 at 4:40
• @HeyICanChan That item is cool, but its an artifact for a reason – Fering Mar 7 '19 at 12:12

Your sources do not support your argument.

• The initial source is in regards to whether stats increased by stat items count towards prerequisites. The fact that it works is simply because of the rules posted later in that same thread, not because items on their own count towards prerequisites .

• This thread is not even about pathfinder but 3.5 (or an earlier edition). Despite pathfinder being based on 3.5, they do not work the same.

• These comments touch on why scrolls and wands are not valid, in that wands use the spell trigger activation method, instead of the character casting the spells. If we go the the rules for the spell trigger activation method, we see that it falls under "Using Items", which is not "casting spells".

Here is an FAQ that shows even more that casting spells from a wand, does not count as your character casting spells:

Items as Spells: Does using a potion, scroll, staff, or wand count as "casting a spell" for purposes of feats and special abilities like Augment Summoning, Spell Focus, an evoker's ability to do extra damage with evocation spells, bloodline abilities, and so on?

No. Unless they specifically state otherwise, feats and abilities that modify spells you cast only affect actual spellcasting, not using magic items that emulate spellcasting or work like spellcasting.

As for racial spell-like abilities qualifying you for the class, there's an FAQ for that:

Spell-Like Abilities, Casting, and Prerequisites: Does a creature with a spell-like ability count as being able to cast that spell for the purpose of prerequisites or requirements?

Only if the pre-requisite calls out the name of a spell explicitly. For instance, the Dimensional Agility feat (Ultimate Combat) has "ability to use the abundant step class feature or cast dimension door" as a prerequisite; a barghest has dimension door as a spell-like ability, so the barghest meets the "able to cast dimension door prerequisite for that feat. However, the barghest's dimension door would not meet requirements such as "Ability to cast 4th level spells" or "Ability to cast arcane spells".

As such racial SLAs do not qualify you for being "able to cast 2nd level arcane spells". I'm fairly certain you understand this (given the link text), however, I am clarifying this just in case.

There are only three methods that help both arcane and divine casters with entering Mystic Theurge at level 4 that I know of, and two are mentioned in the question you linked:

The first way is with the equipment trick (Sunrod) feat:

Like the Sun: You can use a sunrod as an additional material component for any spell that bears the light descriptor. The spell is treated as one spell level higher (to a maximum of 9th level) for all purposes, including the calculation of saving throw DCs and its ability to overcome sources of magical darkness.

This allows you to be treated as if you can cast spells of 1 spell level higher, letting you be treated as if you can cast 2nd level spells in both of your classes. In fact you'd be able to qualify for Mystic Theurge at level 3 if not for the fact that you need 3 ranks in Knowledge (Arcana) and Knowledge (Religion) prior to taking it.

The second way is Eclectic and Esoteric Training from Inner Sea Magic:

Eclectic Training (5 Fame): Guilds often require members to master and train in different subjects. When your Fame score in a guild reaches 5, choose one spellcasting class you have at least 1 level in—you increase your effective caster level in that class (including the number of spells you know and can cast per day) by +1, to a maximum caster level equal to your total Hit Dice. Single-classed spellcasters should still pick a class to which this bonus applies, since this bonus is retroactive.

Esoteric Training (35 Fame): The bonus to caster level you gain from Eclectic Training increases to +3 (but is still limited by your total Hit Dice). You may select a second spellcasting class to gain a +1 bonus to effective caster level.

This allows you to scale up your ability to cast spells, if you can gain the necessary fame and benefits to use it prior to level 4, thus allowing to enter Mystic Theurge at level 4.

Or the Shield of the Sun:

This +5 Large shield, emblazoned with the symbol of the sun, allows the wielder to cast spells as if she were a 20th-level paladin with a Charisma of 20.

If you have this shield when you hit level 4, you can take Mystic Theurge assuming you're a prepared arcane caster, and able to cast 2nd level arcane spells.

Additionally, there is at least one item that can help you enter earlier than the normal 7 (though not at 4), such as the Candle of Invocation:

A cleric whose alignment matches the candle’s operates as if two levels higher for purposes of determining spells per day if he burns the candle during or just prior to his spell preparation time. He can even cast spells normally unavailable to him, as if he were of that higher level, but only so long as the candle continues to burn.

This allows you to be "able to cast divine spells of the 2nd-level" and help you enter the class faster. Despite this, as it only affect one side of casting, you're still unable to enter the class at level 4.