In Unearthed Arcana, there is a set of optional rules for Spontaneous Divine Casters. Under the assumption that these rules are used and that any Favored Soul fluff is ignored, is there any mechanical reason to play a Favored Soul instead of a Spontaneous Divine Caster Cleric? After all, the Favored Soul lacks some fantastic Cleric abilities like Turn Undead.
Actually, the Spontaneous Divine Caster is a somewhat watered-down Favored Soul.
The Favored Soul gains a number of minor features that the Cleric lacks:
- All Good saves (the Cleric has a poor Reflex save).
- Deity's Weapon Focus & Weapon Specialization.
- 3 Energy Resistance (10).
- Damage Reduction.
It also has a few major advantages:
- More spells known: a 20th-level Favored Soul knows 9 Cantrips, 6 1st to 7th level spells, 5 8th level spells and 4 9th level spells; compare to the Spontaneous Cleric and its 9 Cantrips, 5 1st/2nd level spells, 4 3rd to 5th level spells and 3 6th to 9th level spells.
- More spell slots: a 20th-level Favored Soul has 6 spell slots of each level, a 20th-level Cleric only 5 1st to 5th level spell slots and 4 6th to 9th level spell slots, plus 1 Domain spell slots solely for Domain spells (so not as flexible).
And of course, the spellcasting ability is different: Charisma vs Wisdom. It is easier to boost Charisma and it as a different set of skills associated, so it opens up different possibilities.
This does not necessarily mean that a Favored Soul is necessarily better than a Spontaneous Cleric; the wealth of published material for Domains and Turn Undead is just staggering.
It does offer, though, a compelling alternative. For straightforward play, without optimization research, the Favored Soul is strictly more powerful than the Spontaneous Cleric.