Was just looking for a bit of insight into the Arcane Disciple feat. A quick quote on what that does:

Add the chosen domain's spells to your class list of arcane spells. If you have arcane spellcasting ability from more than one class, you must pick which arcane spellcasting ability this feat applies to. Once chosen, this decision cannot be changed for that feat. You may learn these spells as normal for your class; however, you use Wisdom (rather than the normal ability for your spellcasting) when determining the save DC for the spell. In addition, you must have a Wisdom score equal to 10 + the spell's level in order to prepare or cast a spell gained from this feat. Each day, you may prepare (or cast, if you cast spells without preparation) a maximum of one of these domains spells of each level.

I'm looking into a summoner build, and want to get into Thaumaturgist as a sorcerer. I figured I'd take Arcane Disciple and pick the summoning domain for Lesser Planar Ally. As a sorcerer though, all the Summon Monster spells and Gate are already Sor/Wiz spells. Does this mean I now need 19 WIS to cast Gate and the appropriate WIS for Summon Monster 1/2/3/5/7? Or can I still use these spells as a sorcerer and just rely on CHA for the main stat?

For further context, Vow of Poverty is part of the character build for a bit of game-balancing flavour. Just wondering if I need to allocate one of my 4 stat increases to WIS. Otherwise I'd rather put my points into just about anything else. Has anyone seen any rules regarding this? Or is it just a straight "the spells in this domain list now rely on WIS", regardless of whether or not they were already on your class list?




1 Answer 1


It’s not spelled out, and if you really want to get pedantic about it we have to get into a semantic argument about whether or not summon monster III from the sor/wiz list is the same spell as summon monster III from the Summoning domain—whether, when “these spells” refers to summon monster III, it refers to the Summoning domain “versions” of them, or it refers to some global object summon monster III that is referenced by both the sor/wiz list and Summoning domain list. Programmers will recognize this kind of problem since “by-reference” and “by-copy” are often things that programmers have to worry about—in that lingo, we wonder if summon monster III is a global singleton object or if each list has their own copy of it.

As far as I know, there is no objective way to resolve that semantic argument. But that’s besides the point—semantics and pedantry aren’t really the best way to approach this question anyway, since it hasn’t asked for semantics or pedantry, it’s asked for rules specifically on the topic—and the answer to that is that there are none. What you have quoted is the length and breadth of what’s available about Arcane Disciple, and there’s no more information to cite.

Given that, the more productive avenue to take the question, since there is no straightforward or objective answer, is to reframe the question as “what ruling here makes for the best game?” And the answer to that is, in my opinion, entirely straightforward—of course the feat shouldn’t nerf your access to spells you already had. That’s nonsense—feats are meant to benefit you. Their effect is literally entitled “Benefits:” in their description. While feats do occasionally apply drawbacks as well, these are explicitly called out—Arcane Disciple would need, in my opinion, to explicitly state that it’s messing with the spells you already have access to. And while many spellcasters—the sorcerer included—could possibly suffer a nerf like this acceptably, for others it’s inappropriate. And for that matter, it’s also a nerf to Arcane Disciple—a fairly mediocre feat—as well as to domain choices where some of the spells are already on your list—which are already weak choices, because you are getting less benefit out of Arcane Disciple that way.

Ultimately, though, if you want greater planar ally—which I’d expect a thaumaturgist to want—you need 18 Wisdom anyway. Getting to 19 Wisdom for gate isn’t much of a hardship at that point, and aside from the minimums to learn and cast these spells, none of them actually use their primary ability score for anything, since they do not offer saving throws. Though I suppose Vow of Poverty really does nerf you that hard where getting that 1 more Wisdom could be a problem. (I realize you are intentionally weakening your character with the feat, but I still feel compelled to state how miserably awful that feat is—the self-nerf you are applying is extreme.)

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks KRyan -- my inital thought was the same; I should only be forced to use WIS if I otherwise couldn't cast the spell (as is the case with Greater Planar Ally). But it didn't seem right that I should be casting SM4/6/8/9 with CHA and the rest with WIS. I'm realizing anyways that I'm kind of screwing up with arcane disciple as opposed to planar touchstone (since I don't get the domain power with arcane disciple), but I'm not sure if I got the domain through PT whether or not since I don't think the higher touchstone ability counts as "being able to cast"... \$\endgroup\$
    – Erik
    Sep 26, 2020 at 14:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ ... Lesser Planar Ally. The Vow of Poverty nerf is to center around getting a Glimmerskin (Monster Manual 2) as a wife. Words of Creation + Blessed of the Seven Sisters (to cast Sacred Guardian) as bonus exalted feats. \$\endgroup\$
    – Erik
    Sep 26, 2020 at 14:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ I’m not sure what Words of Creation or sacred guardian have to do with a glimmerskin—who isn’t even a celestial—but ultimately I take strong issue with the idea of paying feat (and in this case, actual monetary) taxes in order to justify a backstory. That is fairly well toxic to the game, in my opinion. Sure, sorcerers are strong enough that in the right party it could be appropriate, but it still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Also, I note that since Vow of Poverty is, itself, a feat, and requires Sacred Vow, these two bonus feats could just replace those two. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Sep 26, 2020 at 15:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ As for “being able to cast,” the term isn’t ever defined strictly anywhere in the game. It leads to more than a few questions in corner cases. But the Planar Touchstone (Catalogues of Enlightenment) effect is so permanent that I have a hard time seeing how you could justify saying it doesn’t count—after all, if a cleric qualifies as being able to cast lesser planar ally, even though theoretically they could lose that ability if they fall from their god’s graces, then the Catalogues of Enlightenment effect should also qualify, even though in theory you could switch to another touchstone. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Sep 26, 2020 at 15:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hah, well to satisfy your curiosity I guess, the character idea came from an inside joke about "Starcraft" characters (who summon/control a ton of things) after I learned about the Malconvoker. I liked the theme of just using evil creatures for whatever purpose, but also figured I'd use good things for whatever purpose too, since VOP has no alignment requirements. The character would be kind of a cynic like Diogenes. \$\endgroup\$
    – Erik
    Sep 27, 2020 at 20:20

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