I need help interpreting some things. I want to create a character for an upcoming game as follows: Cloistered 4 levels, Church Inquisitor 1 level, Sovereign Speaker 9 levels, Chameleon at least 2 levels.

I love the idea of having the "Bonus feat" at level 2, but I have some doubts regarding the following: I chose to be a Spontaneous Divine Caster to have a "better" use of all the domains I would gain in the build. By losing 2 levels of spellcasting (level 1 and 6 of Sovereign Speaker), I seek to compensate for them in the best way possible. This brings me three questions:

I understand that by choosing "Divine Focus" (cleric's spell list) every day, I would have an effective caster level of 16. Is that correct? On the other hand, how many spells per level would I have (assuming my WIS is 20)? How many spells would I know? Thank you in advance for your help. I welcome all possible suggestions!

Edit: It's not entirely clear to me why the cleric levels couldn't be added to those provided by Chameleon by choosing Divine Focus(Cleric). I was betting they would add up, but spell level progression wouldn't. If you could explain this aspect to me in a little more detail, I would be very grateful. I'm new to d&d and some details still escape me.


2 Answers 2


Chameleon doesn’t really offer a whole lot to a cleric. The “floating” bonus feat is nice, of course, but a cleric isn’t really strapped for feats. Divine focus and cleric spellcasting are completely incompatible with one another, and they don’t help each in any way. You can’t even use chameleon spellcasting to qualify for feats and prestige classes (which might help cleric spellcasting).

About caster levels

A cleric X/chameleon Y has cleric caster level X, exactly the same as a cleric X with no levels in chameleon. They also have the same spells per day as a cleric X. The chameleon levels make no difference for the cleric spellcasting at all.

It is true that chameleon itself has a caster level, which is 2×Y. But this only applies to chameleon spells—which are much lower-level than your cleric spells. And also doesn’t include any of your X levels in the cleric class.

So a cloistered cleric 4th/church inquisitor 1st/chameleon 2nd/sovereign speaker 9th has effective character level 16th. They have the spellcasting of a 12th-level cleric: up to 6th-level spells with caster level 12th. They can also have the spellcasting of a 2nd-level chameleon, up to 2nd-level spells with caster level 4th, which can be arcane or divine depending on your focus that day.

It's not entirely clear to me why the cleric levels couldn't be added to those provided by Chameleon by choosing Divine Focus(Cleric). I was betting they would add up, but spell level progression wouldn't.

Simply because nothing says that you do that.

First of all, as a chameleon you choose just “divine focus”—you don’t choose “cleric” (or any other class). You cast spells “just as a cleric does,” but that just means you use Wisdom to determine saving throw DCs, bonus spells, and minimum requirements to prepare and cast spells. Your spells per day come from Table 5–2: The Chameleon (Races of Destiny pg. 112). As for which spells you can prepare and cast, those “may be chosen from the spell list of any divine spellcasting class.” You don’t have to pick any one class’s spell list—your list is basically “all the lists, combined.” This is one of the really nice things about chameleon. You can prepare both shield of faith (cleric 1st) and shillelagh (druid 1st).

Furthermore, we have rules for the caster level of each of cleric and chameleon:

A spell’s power often depends on its caster level, which for most spellcasting characters [including clerics since nothing says otherwise for them] is equal to your class level in the class you’re using to cast the spell.

(Magic Overview → Caster Level)

Your caster level is equal to twice your class level.

(Races of Destiny → Chameleon → Aptitude Focus → Divine Focus, pg. 112)

When you use one of your cleric spells per day, your caster level “is equal to your class level in [cleric],” and therefore does not include anything from chameleon. Likewise, when you cast one of your chameleon spells per day, “Your caster level is equal to twice your [chameleon] class level,” since “class level” in a class feature description always refers to your level in that class. Again, nothing in there about cleric.

And there is no rule telling you to do otherwise here.

Contrast this with, for example, ur-priest from Complete Divine:

To determine the caster level of an ur-priest, add the character’s ur-priest levels to one-half of his levels in other spellcasting classes. (Any levels gained in the cleric class by an ex-cleric don’t count.)

(Complete Divine → Ur-Priest → Spells per Day, pg. 70)

Here, the ur-priest description explicitly tells you to add your ur-priest class level with (half of) your levels in some other spellcasting class (other than cleric). So when a wizard 10th/ur-priest 10th casts one of their ur-priest spells per day, the caster level is ½×(10th) + 10th = 15th. Because ur-priest says to do that.

Neither cleric nor chameleon say to do that for cleric or chameleon spells. So you don’t.

Overall suggestions

As From’s answer suggests, chameleon isn’t doing a whole lot for you here. The floating bonus feat is certainly nice, but a cleric would much prefer to just have the next level of spells. The only time it makes sense to stop advancing your cleric spellcasting is when you’re already casting as a cleric 17th and already have 9th-level spells. For a cleric who has 9 levels in sovereign speaker, that doesn’t happen until 19th level: too late to take 2 levels of chameleon (ignoring epic play, anyway).

On the other hand, cleric can do a whole lot for a chameleon: domains and turn undead are very useful, plus the cleric dip gives you some “real” divine spellcasting that you can use to qualify for things (since chameleon’s divine focus can’t be used to qualify for anything). But this is just a single level of cleric, on someone taking all 10 levels of chameleon. Ultimately, this approach is much weaker than the cleric-focused build—even your cleric-focused build that misses 4 spellcasting levels—because spellcasting is just that strong. But if you really want to play up your chameleon-ness, this seems the more elegant way to go. The other 4 levels you have to take before starting your chameleon levels should probably be in frontline combat classes: chameleon will handle your skills and utility, what you want from these four levels is primarily a sturdy chassis and strong features you can use to conserve your chameleon spells. Barbarian, crusader, paladin, ranger, warblade all come to mind, for examples. Probably not any one of these: your first 5 levels should probably be a level or two of this, a level or two of that, etc.


Caster Level conundrums

Chameleon Divine Focus spellcasting is separate and distinct from Cleric spellcasting - the Caster Levels do not stack any more than Cleric and Druid Caster Levels would stack.

You instead, with your Chameleon levels, start a second spellcasting progression - the Caster Level of which progresses at double speed ("twice your class level").

With the proposed level 16 build, you would have Cleric-12 spellcasting at Caster Level 12, and Chameleon-2 spellcasting at Caster Level 4. With the Divine Focus, both would benefit from bonus spells from your Wisdom.

Spontaneous Cleric or Spontaneous Domain Casting?

Just mentioning this as an alternative to a fully Spontaneous Cleric, to keep your options open (The UA Spontaneous Cleric picks spells like a Sorcerer, though Sovereign Speaker helps with that, of course).

Spontaneous Domain Casting - PHB II (p. 37)

Level: 1st.

Replaces: If you select this class feature, you do not gain the ability to spontaneously convert prepared spells into cure or inflict spells.

Benefit: You can convert stored spell energy into the spells of one of your domains. Pick one of your two domains. You can "lose" any prepared spell (other than a domain spell) to cast any spell of the same level or lower on that domain list. Your choice is permanent unless an alignment change, deity change, or other dramatic event leaves you incapable of accessing the domain.

In addition, when preparing spells you can choose to fill any or all of your domain spell slots with either cure or inflict spells (depending on whether you would normally convert prepared spells to cure or inflict spells) of the same level.

If you're going Chameleon, how about Domain Spontaneity?

This is a reasonable way to use the Chameleon "floating" bonus feat - it would allow you to pick a (second?) Domain to cast spontaneously from, which you could change daily.

Domain Spontaneity feat, Complete Divine (p. 80)

You are so familiar with one of your domains that you can convert other prepared spells into spells from that domain.

Prerequisite: Ability to turn or rebuke undead.

Benefit: Each time you take this feat, choose a domain that you have access to. You may now convert prepared divine spells into any spell from that domain. You expend a spell of equal or higher level, as well as expending one of your daily turn undead attempts. This works just as good clerics spontaneously cast prepared spells as cure spells.

Special: You can take this feat multiple times. Each time you take the feat, it applies to a new domain.

With Spontaneous Domain Casting (Spell Domain) and using the Chameleon bonus feat for Domain Spontaineity, you'd be able to spontaneously cast 18 spells while retaining prepared casting and access to the full Cleric list, and those 18 spells would include Anyspell, Greater Anyspell and Limited Wish.

Spontaneous Domains

This feat gives you access to any spell from your Domains spontaneously, though only using your regular Domain spell slots (so one per spell level available to you, normally).

Spontaneous Domains feat, Complete Champion (p. 62)

You need not prepare your domain spells in advance. Prerequisite: Ability to cast 3rd-level spells, access to two or more cleric domains

Benefit: When preparing your spells for the day, you can leave your domain slots open. You can then choose, when the situation arises, to cast any of the domain spells you could normally have prepared for a given level. However, you are still limited to one domain spell per level per day.

Normal: Clerics must prepare their domain spells before casting.

This combines well with the above Spontaneous Domain Casting and Domain Spontaneity, leaving you with a lot of spontaneous options on a prepared Cleric.

Since this is optimization...

...anything that means you get 9th level spells later than level 17 is Bad, and anything preventing you from having 9th level spells at level 20 is WrongBad.

2 levels of spellcasting progression lost to Sovereign Speaker and 2 to Chameleon means you (assuming no further losses) reach Cleric 16 spellcasting at character level 20, which means 8th level spells at most. The Practiced Spellcaster feat could fix your Caster Level, but not your spellcasting progression.


Ditch the Chameleon levels, which loses you the floating Domain Spontaneity, and grab a level of Contemplative instead, leaving you at character level 15 with Cleric-13 spellcasting and Caster Level 13. With Spontaneous Domain Casting (Spell Domain) and Spontaneous Domains, you'd still have spontaneous access to a metric ton of spells, including Sorcerer/Wizard spells up to 6th level (Limited Wish, from Spell Domain).

You could do worse than rounding the build off with five more levels of Contemplative, which would give you a final Domain at level 20. Radiant Servant does the same, as well as progressing your Turn Undead ability. A level in Divine Oracle gives you the Oracle Domain, and two gives you armor-proof Evasion. A Prestige Paladin dip gives you access to Paladin spells as well as access to the Battle Blessing feat to boost them with.


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