In reference to mixing theurge classes with fast-progression classes like the Apostle of Peace, Blighter, or Ur-Preist this answer mentions that "Any time you get a spell level before a Cleric or Wizard would, you’re causing trouble". This has lead me to ask - is there any way to do this with consistency (i.e. not just at one particular level)?

Excluding obvious cheese like Pun-pun, I'm not aware of any tricks that would allow such a progression. Even among the classes that I've listed, I only know of one-off cases like the Apostle of Peace getting 9th level spells one level earlier than the Cleric, but that doesn't last long enough to really count. Do the exploits that the linked question alluded to have something to do with exploiting early entry exploits?

Note: To clarify the level of cheese that I'd be happy with - the best possible answer will be one that is only considered cheesy due to its end result (the faster than normal spell progression) rather than its means of getting there (e.g. using the sort of exploits that could give you Pun-pun).

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    \$\begingroup\$ Could this question be clarified? That is, I'm unsure of what this question's asking for. Once a creature's gotten spells "early," advancing that early casting should see the creature continue to get spells early. (Although you may be interested in the class mentioned in this question.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 24, 2019 at 13:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan Your example doesn't always work. For example, once the Cleric catches up with the Apostle of Peace, it stays caught up because the Apostle of Peace stops advancing. \$\endgroup\$
    – J. Mini
    Commented Apr 24, 2019 at 13:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ I said I didn't understand the question. :-) So are you looking for apostle of peace-style casting that goes up to 10th-level and 11th-level spells so as to utterly outdo and outpace the cleric? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 24, 2019 at 13:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan Or anything to that effect. For example, I'd be satisfied by a build that always stays a spell level ahead of a Wizard. \$\endgroup\$
    – J. Mini
    Commented Apr 24, 2019 at 14:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't think first-party classes can do this without extreme cheese or near-deliberate misreading, is that okay? Further, did you check out the linked question in the earlier comment? If that class is okay, are other third-party methods acceptable? Similarly, is playing a monster acceptable? (Some monsters have wacky spellcasting advancement, and if starting at a high enough level such a monster will be ahead and stay ahead of the typical wizard or cleric's casting.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 24, 2019 at 14:06

2 Answers 2


Complete Divine’s ur-priest prestige class can, like apostle of peace, gain 9th-level spells in 9 class levels, and unlike apostle of peace, can be entered as early as 6th.1 That means a 7th-level ur-priest, a 12th-level character overall, has 7th-level spells—while a 12th-level wizard has a cap of 6th. The wizard does eventually catch up with the ur-priest, but only at 17th level, when both are capped at 9th-level spells, which is the limit for non-cheese, non-epic spellcasters. So for five levels—12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, and 16th—the ur-priest has higher spell level than a single-classed wizard does.

To manage to get ahead of the wizard before 12th requires early entry cheese. A friendly bard’s inspire greatness and a friendly psion’s psychic reformation could get you into ur-priest at 4th instead of 6th,2 for example, allowing the ur-priest to be ahead for seven levels.

Or you could be truly abusive, and use polymorph effects to qualify for the beholder mage prestige class from Lords of Madness—like ur-priest et al. it allows 9th-level spells in 9 class levels, and its only requirements are “be a true beholder” and “put out your central antimagic eye.” Anything that turns you into a true beholder for the duration of your level-up could work, as early as 2nd level if you really wanted.3 Such a character would surpass the wizard as early as 4th level, and again the wizard would only catch up at 17th, when both are capped at 9th-level spells.

To avoid the wizard catching up at 17th level requires surpassing 9th-level spells before then. However, 9th level is supposed to be a hard cap on the spellcasting of non-epic characters. The Epic feat Improved Spell Capacity would allow any of these characters with 9th-level spells to gain a 10th-level spell slot, but as an Epic feat, no character has the option of selecting it until 21st level...

...unless they are a dragon. Draconomicon says dragons of Old age or older can select Epic feats even if they aren’t epic themselves. And Races of the Dragon allows a kobold to take the Dragonwrought feat in order to become a Dragon-type creature, complete with draconic age categories. As such, an Old-or-older Dragonwrought kobold ur-priest or beholder mage could take Improved Spell Capacity with their next feat after achieving 9th-level spells—12th or 15th depending on the route used to get there.

So at 12th level, or at latest 15th level, we have 10th-level spell slots. These are only spell slots—you can fill them by using metamagic on your existing spells, but there are no 10th-level or higher spells in the game. They simply don’t exist in D&D 3e; Lost Empires of Faerûn even discusses how Mystra banned them in the transition between AD&D 2e and D&D 3e, since they used to exist and were in important to the history of the Forgotten Realms, so their disappearance had to be explained. There is the Epic Spellcasting feat, and the spells created through that system “have no fixed level. However, for purposes of Concentration checks, spell resistance, and other possible situations where spell level is important, epic spells are all treated as if they were 10th-level spells.” Getting the Epic Spellcasting feat pre-epic is harder—it requires 24 ranks in two different skills, which is impossible before 21st level without cheese.4

But for the purposes of this question, it is easier to just take the Epic feat Improved Heighten Spell, which will allow us to make our 9th-and-lower-level spells truly count as 10th-and-higher. Improved Heighten Spell requires just 20 ranks in Spellcraft, available with no cheese at 17th, so this character can just take that at 18th, well before a typical (non-Dragon) wizard could. If we really care that we are using our 10th-level or 11th-level spell slots for metamagic’d spells that don’t technically count as 10th-level or 11th-level spells, and the wizard also has true 9th-level slots at 17th along with us, we could also use inspire greatness (again) to take Improved Heighten Spell at 15th. For the beholder mage version, we already have had our first Improved Spell Capacity since 12th, so that allows “true” 10th-level spells at 15th, and then 18th can be Improved Spell Capacity again to allow 11th-level spells, and so on.

So yes, it is possible to make a character who gets 3rd-level spells while a single-classed wizard is still limited to 2nd-level spells, and then to continue gaining new spell levels ahead of the wizard indefinitely. For the first three levels of the game, the character has exactly the same spell levels as the wizard, too.

I hope it goes without saying that none of this should be considered for a real game. D&D breaks down hard at these levels of power, and it is almost impossible to actually challenge such a character. There are game systems designed for godly characters like this, and would be a vastly superior choice if these kinds of power levels were desired—those systems have details and limitations in place that allow for appropriate challenges to be brought. D&D largely does not.

  1. The blighter prestige class, also from Complete Divine, can be entered at 7th trivially, and could be cheesed to 6th as well if one were so inclined. So could divine crusader, Complete Divine again, and for that matter, apostle of peace probably could too. Complete Arcane’s sublime chord also gets 9th-level spells in 9 levels, but would be far harder to cheese that early. The beholder mage, from Lords of Madness, is another such class, but is supposed to be for “true beholders” only. As the discussed later in the answer, though, that can be cheesed around.

  2. Inspire greatness gives you 2 HD, allowing you to have a skill cap of 8 at 3rd. Psychic reformation would then let you re-arrange your skill points to use that cap.

  3. A single casting of polymorph any object with Assume Supernatural Ability or Metamorphic Transfer can do it; how to achieve that at 1st level is left as an exercise for the reader. LordOfProcrastination’s Dirty Trick #1 may be worthwhile reading here, as could the various approaches to 1st-level Pun-Pun ascension: just about anything that can do that can also do this.

  4. As if that was stopping us at this point...

  • \$\begingroup\$ While possibly a bit of a tangent, it might help to mention what a couple of the "systems designed for godly characters..." are. Otherwise, amazing and very thorough answer. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 24, 2019 at 16:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TimothyAWiseman I’m not personally interested in such a game. I tried Exalted 2e once, it was cool but clunky, and that’s the closest I’ve ever come to such a thing. So while I’m vaguely aware of a couple such systems (including those that go beyond Exalted), I have no idea if they’re any good, so I don’t feel it’s appropriate to name them. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Apr 24, 2019 at 16:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ Worth noting that the beholder mage form of spellcasting requires you to have beholder eyes to spellcast with. You can gain levels in the class with brief spans as a beholder, sure, but you can't actually cast the spells without your spellstalks. Also, WBL means that a 1st level character isn't likely to have the gold necessary to transform into a True Beholder, even temporarily. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ben Barden
    Commented Apr 24, 2019 at 17:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BenBarden LoP covers that. The requirement on beholder mage spellcasting is worded as a one-time event that must take place in order to gain the next level of spells, not a consistent requirement to have cut-off stalks in order to cast spells, so while there would need to be additional castings of polymorph any object, you wouldn’t need to be in beholder form to use your spells. Or you could just abuse Polymorph Any Object’s weird duration rules by casting it twice in succession to achieve Permanent duration—you don’t need the Dragon type until after you’re done with beholder mage anyway. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Apr 24, 2019 at 17:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan May I suggest the Amber RPG as the best game for god-level play? Far superior to any version of Exalted, with a long history of successful play tests (and spin off games) to its credit. It comes highly recommended by industry professionals who addres familiar with it, and it occupies a unique niche in RPG history, due to its mechanics. \$\endgroup\$
    – nijineko
    Commented Apr 24, 2019 at 19:17

Just a taste of Pun-pun...

Loredrake Kobold Sorcerer

This is definitely cheesetastic, if allowed. It hinges on whether or not the Dragonwrought Feat (RotD, p. 100) allows a Kobold to be considered a True Dragon. There is some debate and little certainty on the topic. If so, and possibly even if not so, the Kobold could take the Loredrake Sovereign Archetype (DoE, p. 31).

This, along with one level of Sorcerer, would put the character's spellcasting as a Sorcerer two levels higher than their Sorcerer class level - which would mean access to 2nd level spells at Sorcerer level 2, which a Wizard would not have before level 3.

Kobolds all the way down

Going through the Draconic Rite of Passage (cost: 100 gold) and buying the Draconic Reservoir Feat would permit the character, at level 6, to go through the Greater Draconic Rite of Passage (cost: 1000 gold, 3 hitpoints), which would further improve their Sorcerer spellcasting by another level.

A Sorcerer level 6 with both the Loredrake Archetype and the effects of the Greater Draconic Rite of Passage would have the spellcasting ability of a Sorcerer level 9 - which means access to 4th level spells, and another level of Sorcerer would give them access to 5th level spells, at the same time as the party Wizard gets access to 4th level spells.

What to do after 9th level spellcasting?

Sorcerer spellcasting "maxes out" at level 20, even if the DM was to allow Epic progression, which is level 17 for this character. In fact, after Sorcerer 15 (effectively 18), getting the final two levels provides a sum total of four more spell slots and three more spells known.

One option, from Dragon #280, is the Eldritch Master prestige class. It's 3.0 content, but it has not been updated for 3.5, so it should be fair game. It gives 3-4 lower-level slots and 2 spells known (of any level) for each level, and at level 4 (character level 19) gives access to another spell list. The four spells for levels 19 and 20 can thus be picked from (for instance) the Cleric spell list, and will function as Arcane spells for that character. Arcane Miracle? Why not.

Eldritch Master also has the feature Spell Boost:

Spell Boost: At 3rd, 6th, and 9th level, the eldritch master gains the ability to cast a spell one level higher than his current highest level spell once per day. The eldritch master also gains a single spell known for that level if he does not otherwise know any spells of that level.

For example, a 7th-level sorcerer who gains three levels of eldritch master can cast one 4th-level spell per day, and he gains a new spell of 4th level that he knows.

...which gives a character who can already cast 9th level spells access to 10th level spells. With the suggested build, by character level 18.

MORE? Sure. Sorcerer/15, Eldritch Master/4 and the final level in Mystic (Dragon #274). That one level gives you two spell slots (no higher than your current max, i.e. 10th level, and only one of that level) and the ability to e.g. Extend your Time Stop or Empower your Shades:

Spell Secret: At every other level, mystics can choose one spell known to them that then becomes permanently modified as though affected by one of the following metamagic feats:

Empower Spell, Enlarge Spell, Extend Spell, Still Spell, or Silent Spell.

The spell's level does not change, and once the choice of spell and modification are chosen, they cannot he changed. As the mystic goes up in level, he can choose the same spell to be modified in different ways with multiple spell secrets.

Eat THAT, God/Batman Wizards!

Yes, I know, still not prepared casting and significantly less versatility.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This cheese is quite pungent. +1 \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 21, 2023 at 13:09

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