When a Rainbow Servant hits level 10 they gain access to all nondomain Cleric spells. All spells that do not appear on any other spell list they have are cast as Divine spells. This means that, if they have the skills and have learned 2nd level spells, they qualify for the Mystic Theurge Prestige Class.

But what happens when you actually start to take levels in it? The text says:

When a new mystic theurge level is gained, the character gains new spells per day as if he had also gained a level in any one arcane spellcasting class he belonged to before he added the prestige class and any one divine spellcasting class he belonged to previously.

What it does not say however, here or elsewhere, that these classes have to be different classes. Do you get one level in Wizard/Warmage/whaever for being an Arcane caster, then ANOTHER level for being a Divine caster as well? The text for the Rainbow Servant says the following:

Such spells are cast as divine spells if they don’t appear on the sorcerer/wizard or bard spell lists.

So it comes down to these questions:

  • Does being able to cast Divine spells qualify you as a Divine Caster, or is there more to it than that?
  • If it is, what happens when you take levels in Mystic Theurge like this? Do you go up one level or two?
  • What happens if this means you go over 20th caster level? Do you keep gaining spell slots like a level 20+ character, or does something else happen?
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    \$\begingroup\$ No, I understand that you do not need to be a divine caster to qualify (just be able to cast 2nd level divine spells), what I am asking if being able to cast such spells make you a divine caster for the sake of gaining spells per day as per Mystic Theurge progression? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 5, 2014 at 14:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ rpg.stackexchange.com/a/67987/51979 see this answer for additionnal infos. from the question: Can a “theurge” prestige class increase the level of a different “theurge” prestige class? \$\endgroup\$
    – Maxpire
    Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 11:15

6 Answers 6


RAW: Ambiguous

The rules are not clear on what, exactly, constitutes an “arcane spellcasting class” or a “divine spellcasting class,” probably because initially it was obvious. By default, assassins, bards, sorcerers, and wizards were the arcane spellcasting classes, blackguards, clerics, druids, and paladins were the divine spellcasting classes. There was no ambiguity: the former are the classes that cast arcane spells, and the latter are the classes that cast divine spells. Easy.

Then they printed things like Alternate Source Spell, Rainbow Servant, Sha’ir, and Southern Magician, which introduced ambiguity that hadn’t existed before. In these cases, you have spell slots from one class being used for either arcane or divine spells.

Does this new feature suddenly make the class into an “arcane spellcasting class” or “divine spellcasting class” where it wasn’t before? There hadn’t ever been a strict definition before, and they didn’t print one at this point, either. Some of these effects seem to try to include wording that prevents this kind of thing, but much of those rules are also unclear. For instance, consider this from Southern Magician: “The actual source of the spell's power doesn't change,” which Customer Service interpreted as preventing entry to mystic theurge. But it doesn’t really say that, does it? It says something about power source, which is unclear.

Unfortunately, there’s no direct, rules-as-written, “as it says on page xyz of Complete Shenanigans” kind of answer to this question.

Recommendation: Never

RAW is ambiguous, but what’s going to work well in-game is not: never, under any circumstances, should one be allowed to advance wizard spellcasting faster than the wizard does. That should never, ever happen in any game, and if you’re going to allow it you might as well allow Pun-pun.

Allowing these sorts of tricks to qualify for mystic theurge, and other prestige classes and feats that require one type of spellcasting or the other, is pretty clearly legal, RAW, and also usually far less troublesome. The only exception I’d be likely to make is the dweormerkeeper from Complete Divine’s web enhancement, but then I’d probably just ban that class outright.

Even allowing a divine-only prestige class to progress wizard spellcasting is almost-always not a problem. It’s the double-progression that should never, ever happen.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, I had expected as much. An optimized Wizard 1/Rainbow Servant 10/Mystic Theurge 9 could hit 29th Caster Level at 20 (if you treat the infamous rule issue as RAW with the FAQ), which is fairly obvious is rather overpowered. But for the third point, what if you go over 20th caster level to a less insane number (like 21 or just a bit higher)? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 5, 2014 at 14:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasJacobs Wizard 20 is already overpowered. Quite a lot so, really. Wizard 21 qualifies you for Epic Spellcasting, which is absurdly broken. So no, I stand by my statement: no, not ever, not even then, should someone have wizard spellcasting ahead of a single-classed wizard of the same level. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Jun 5, 2014 at 14:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh, I agree with your answer. But does being able to cast like a 21st level Wizard qualify you for Epic Spellcasting, or do you need to be a 21th level Wizard? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 5, 2014 at 14:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasJacobs Normally, you'd need to be 21st level to take any Epic Feat, you're right. There are, unfortunately, ways around that (Dragons, it's always Dragons). But fine, bring it back: having 9th level spells before 17th, even by one level, is really overpowered, yes. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Jun 5, 2014 at 14:55

Here's an interesting way you could choose to interpret it that sidesteps the issue: The class that grants divine spells is Rainbow Servant, via the class features to expand your spell list. Rainbow Servant does not grant spells per day, so adding spells per day as if you had gained a level in Rainbow Servant does nothing. Therefore, you only get the boost to Wizard once.

True, you could argue that Rainbow Servant has a clear pattern to granting Wizard spells/day levels, but there is no explicit text saying level 11 of Rainbow Servant would have granted another +1 to Wizard spells/day, and in any case there's no ruling saying that the transitive property applies here even if it did.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah, that's an interesting take on it. Because +1 Arcane spells per day does give something, but because the +1 Divine spells per day has no defined spell list of their own, it does nothing. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 5, 2014 at 15:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ This has been explicitly rejected by Wizards numerous times, and is strongly recommended against because of other shenanigans it potentially opens up (e.g. advancing "mystic theurge spellcasting" with another prestige class). This is definitely not what the rule says. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Jun 5, 2014 at 18:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan I didn't know this had been addressed by Wizards, do you have a link handy so I can update my answer with why not to do this? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 5, 2014 at 19:48

You can take Mystic Theurge, but...

There are four interlocking issues that keep this from being a game-breaker. But you're right that the requirements of the Mystic Theurge PrC do not require your spellcasting abilities to come from any place in particular. They can come from the same class, or even more exotic effects if you can make it happen. But the results aren't what you might suppose...

  1. Bonuses simulate having better abilities, but don't actually grant better abilities. Most of the time, this isn't important, but edge cases pop up from time to time where it matters. You've found one of those edge cases.
  2. You cannot apply spellcasting boosts to a class that doesn't have a spell progression. This follows from the issue above. For example, a Wizard/Cleric can't level-dip in Fighter and Mystic Theurge, then take Eldritch Knight and apply the Eldritch Knight's spellcasting boost to Mystic Theurge. Rainbow Servant (much like Mystic Theurge and Eldritch Knight) does not grant you a spellcasting progression: it only boosts your existing ones. Thus, you can't apply spellcasting boosts to it.
  3. Wizard is not a divine spellcasting class. Rainbow Servant grants characters an unusual bonus that lets arcane casters use divine spells, but it does not grant them a new spellcasting progression: it only lets them mix some new spells in. It's explicit about this, in fact: you still have to use your arcane slots to cast your divine spells. Thus, it does not turn your Wizard class into a divine spellcasting class; it just uses an unusual bonus to broaden your access a bit.
  4. If something would happen but has no valid target, then it fails to happen. This is what causes the real pain, as we'll see in just a moment.

So, you've got your Wizard/Rainbow Servant, and you take your first level in Mystic Theurge. You apply the arcane boost to Wizard as normal, which makes sense. But the divine boost has no valid targets: Wizard isn't a divine spellcasting class, and even if we were to decide that Rainbow Servant is, it has no progression and therefore can't be boosted. Since the boost can't target anything, it's wasted.

This is, shall we say, suboptimal. You could do it, but it wouldn't make a whole lot of sense. If you could find a class that gave you an arcane progression and a divine progression, then you could apply both boosts to it and have the sort of fun you describe. But I don't know of any such classes off the top of my head, and Rainbow Servant doesn't make it happen.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ #3 depends upon an implicit assumption regarding the definitions of "arcane spellcasting class" and "divine spellcasting class" that is found nowhere in the rules. You should make your assumptions here explicit, and couch the rest of your answer in less definitive terms, because equally-valid definitions of "arcane spellcasting class" and "divine spellcasting class" exist that result in diametrically opposed conclusions. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Jun 5, 2014 at 19:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ The bonus states that the character can learn cleric spells "even if they don't appear on the lists of any spellcasting class he has". This implies that the bonus doesn't apply to any class in particular, but to the character. We can argue over the definition of "arcane spellcasting class" or "divine spellcasting class", but I think we can agree that for a bonus to alter a class, it must apply directly to that class. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 5, 2014 at 19:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ No, we can't agree on that point. I do not think that is the definition, I think that is a definition, and a reasonable one, but not the only possible one, and I think your answer should reflect the reality that there is not one true definition available here. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Jun 5, 2014 at 20:47

1. You are both an Arcane and a Divine caster

By any sane definition, being able to cast Cleric spells as Divine spells makes you a Divine caster. You already were an Arcane caster.

And yes, this qualifies a pure Wizard X/Rainbow Servant 10 (given your ability to cast a 2nd level Divine spell) for Mystic Theurge. Though...

2. You only gain one spellcasting level

The full text of the Spells per Day feature of the Mystic Theurge prestige class:

Spells per Day: When a new mystic theurge level is gained, the character gains new spells per day as if he had also gained a level in any one arcane spellcasting class he belonged to before he added the prestige class and any one divine spellcasting class he belonged to previously. He does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained.

This essentially means that he adds the level of mystic theurge to the level of whatever other arcane spellcasting class and divine spellcasting class the character has, then determines spells per day and caster level accordingly.

If a character had more than one arcane spellcasting class or more than one divine spellcasting class before he became a mystic theurge, he must decide to which class he adds each level of mystic theurge for the purpose of determining spells per day.

Note the bolded part in the second paragraph, which you did not quote in the question. The class feature Spells per Day of the Mystic Theurge finishes off by explicitly telling you how the effect works - you add your level of Mystic Theurge to the level of whatever other Arcane or Divine class you have, though (as per the third paragraph) only one of each.

Note the key phrase, 'adds the level of mystic theurge to the level of whatever other [...] spellcasting class the character has'.

  Base spellcasting class levels
+ Rainbow Servant spellcasting progression levels (6/10 or 10/10, YMMV)
+ Mystic Theurge levels
= Total spellcasting level

Adding Mystic Theurge again to the total goes against only adding Mystic Theurge to "other" spellcasting classes, as Mystic Theurge is already included.

3. Caster level is not spellcasting levels

Your phrasing makes it clear that you are asking for the latter, "if a character's effective levels in a casting class exceeds 20, does the slot progression continue?" However, as you asked about "caster level", I need to specify that Caster Level is a specific term used to determine the effectiveness of your spells.

For instance, the Master Specialist prestige class (Complete Mage, p.70) includes the class feature "Caster Level Increase" which is defined as such:

Caster Level Increase (Ex): Upon reaching 6th level, add 1 to your caster level whenever you cast a spell of your chosen school. At 9th level, you instead add 2 to your caster level.

As to your actual question, yes. Unless your DM rules that Epic content is disallowed, if your character's effective level in a spellcasting class exceeds the non-epic scale, so would the character's spellcasting ability. However, a look at the Epic Class Progression for Wizard leaves us with:

Spells: The wizard’s caster level is equal to her class level. The wizard’s number of spells per day does not increase after 20th level. Each time the wizard achieves a new level, he or she learns two new spells of any spell levels that he or she can cast (according to his or her new level).

...which is a bit anticlimactic. You would only gain further spells known, not even access to Epic Feats. The same holds true for the other (PHB) base casting classes. Probably time for some levels of Wonderworker (BoED, p.82) and extra spell slots instead.

My thoughts and rulings (not RAW)

If your Wizard X/Rainbow Servant 10 is both an Arcane caster and a Divine caster, does that mean the character now has a spellcasting Class that is both Arcane and Divine? No, not in my opinion. The character's spellcasting Class is still Wizard, which is an Arcane spellcasting Class.

A Sha'ir would be a more troublesome example, where the class itself already casts both Divine and Arcane spells. Here I would have to resort to the fluff, and read the base description of the class itself:

Between commerce, diplomacy, or even war, the sha'ir's arcane traditions could slowly filter across the world.

as well as another class feature:

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Sha'irs are proficient with all simple weapons, but not with any type of armor or shield. Armor of any type interferes with a sha'ir's arcane gestures, which can cause his spells with somatic components to fail.

Not nearly as conclusive as Wizard X/Rainbow Servant 10, IMO, but good enough for me to make a ruling at my table. The Sha'ir, much like a Wizard X/Rainbow Servant 10, is (by my house rules) an Arcane spellcasting class with access to Divine spells via Domains, which are cast as Divine spells.

A Domain Wizard with the Storm Domain, on the other hand, explicitly casts certain Cleric and Druid spells as Arcane spells, which is "merely" an expansion of the Wizard's spell list.


RAW: using the exact wording of the Rainbow Servant class, yes.

For all conceptual purposes, Rainbow Servant turns a purely arcane caster into both an arcane and divine casting class, as the ability granted by the prestige class states that you use your original arcane class' spell slots to cast divine spells. (Yes, I know there is a heavy debate on the nebulous definition of "Arcane spellcasting class" VS "Divine spellcasting class", but for practical reasons, an Arcane casting class is a class that allows you to cast arcane spells. A Divine casting class is a class that allows you to cast divine spells. Again, that is the practical/logical interpretation of the term, and likely has no "official" published evidence to declare either way.)

This being the case/logical assumption, it would follow that the Rainbow Servant modifies any qualifying arcane spell caster into a dual-sourced casting class. Following that logic/assumption, the wizard (or other qualifying arcane-spell capable spellcasting class) would indeed qualify for the spell-casting requirements of Mystic Theurge, and would also qualify for ten levels of double spell progression. Congratulations, you have potentially shattered any concept of balance for spellcasting in your game.

This being said, that decision ultimately rests with your Game Master, as "rule 0" can potentially override any written rule in the game, and any GM with an eye to keep a party balanced with each other would (most likely) disallow that particular combination. I do not have evidence to support the following statement, but I believe this was one of those circumstances none of the designers anticipated being a possible issue at the time of publication, and so no regulation or counterbalance was ever formulated while 3.5 was still in publication. I hope this helps.

And, always ask your DM before attempting a build you need to question the validity of. They may save you time and energy spent working out a min/max build by telling you "no" before you do all the work, rather than telling you "no" after you put all the work in.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Could you... introduce paragraphs into this rant? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 3, 2014 at 2:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ Sorry.... It is late, and my brain is not quite functioning properly. I think an illithid started eating it and realized it would only be empty callories.... \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 3, 2014 at 3:03


Technically, 'Divine Spellcasting' can be defined as 'casts divine spells'. That's the.. most logical reading of it. And a Rainbow Servant Wizard totally does do that.

I can't see a RAW wording/definition reason why he would not qualify that does not also disallow multiclass Wizard/Clerics.

That said, it's vastly, vastly outside the RAI.

Playing The Game

Wizards are already completely ridiculous. Their power advances quadratically, and insanely. Sure, the earliest you can pull this trick is level 12. But there's just.. no need? Maybe in some crazy RAW arena style game or something, or 'build the most broken thing you can' it could work. In any game with other players, you're taking the 'Wizard Problem' and giving it NITROUS BOOSTERS.

Is this really wise?

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm... not convinced that it's outside RAI. The authors intended some really crazy things. Without specific evidence for that, I think you should remove that statement. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Jun 5, 2014 at 14:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ The authors of Complete Divine? Are you serious? Vadania wielding a scimitar serious? Double caster advancement through prestige stacking? I.. really? @KRyan \$\endgroup\$
    – user2754
    Commented Jun 5, 2014 at 15:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ Answers should be backed up; this is a basic tenet of Stack Exchange. That means evidence should be provided, and bald assertions are a bad thing to have in an answer. Moreover, the history of the use of the term of "RAI" is very poor, and I and others here react very negatively to assertions of intent without backing it up. Your answer is fine on its own merits; you do not need to put words into the authors' mouths that you can't back up. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Jun 5, 2014 at 15:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ There IS no easy evidence for RAI. It's based on the structure of the classes, the examples, the articles written by the authors - it's a vast body of work, condensed, in very general terms. Considering what they have directly expressed though, I doubt they even considered this possible, and if confronted with it would consider it a joke. And yes, I am 'putting words in their mouths' - these words are backed up by the words that have already come out of their mouths. That is the essence of the entire term, and it is how I am using it. @KRyan \$\endgroup\$
    – user2754
    Commented Jun 5, 2014 at 15:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ Exactly: no evidence, so don't claim something is or isn't. And that essence of the term is exactly the problem with it: it is constantly asserted, almost never backed up, and that makes it deeply troubling. Most often, the assertion is used is as a stand-in for a real argument, a way of dismissing others' perspectives as irrelevant. It has no place in an answer here, as discussed several times on Meta, unless it comes with specific evidence or literary analysis. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Jun 5, 2014 at 15:33

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