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My DM is saying the cleric needs to know the spell in question to counter it, but the wording of the power does not imply that.

I checked the errata for the book (Complete Champion) and the feat was not reworded. Here is the feat:

As a standard (readied) action, you can expend one or more turn or rebuke undead attempts to counter another caster's spell, as though you had cast the same spell yourself (see Counterspells, PH 170). You must spend a number of daily uses equal to 2+ the level of the spell you wish to counter (minimum l) and be able to cast that spell as if it were on your spell list.

The last clause part of the last clause, "and be able to cast that spell as IF it were on your spell list," is a little vague to me. It could just say know the spell in question, but it does not. It leads me to believe that the power is saying you must have the potential to cast if you could, meaning same caster level or something along those lines. This fundamentally changes how the power is used. Also, does the power require a check to see if the cleric knows the spell being cast like a regular counter spell? Any insight would be helpful

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So I’m addressing this in two parts.

First, the “effect” so to speak, is

as though you had cast the same spell yourself

This clause covers the spell, so knowledge is not required for this to work. So if you can use Spiritual Counter, it would work.

Second, the feat has a requirement for its use, including

be able to cast that spell as if it were on your spell list

This wording is very strange, but what it seems to be saying that the requirement is that, if this spell were on your spell list, you’d be able to cast it (because you can cast spells of that level, and it doesn’t conflict with your alignment or whatever). It doesn’t say you have to know it, or even have it on your spell list; it just says you have to be able to cast it if it were on your spell list and you knew it.

But the wording is awkward and I can’t claim that this is absolutely, 100% what it meant. It’s just the only interpretation that I see that fits the words we have. If you were required to know the spell, it would just say that instead of the weird thing it does say. Presumably, they phrased it this way to make the feat reflect any casting prohibitions you have, like cleric alignments or wizard banned schools.

Honestly, I’d probably just ignore that requirement entirely, and make the feat just work when you spend enough turn undead uses. Even if you could never cast that spell, or can’t cast spells at all (I’m sure there’s some way to get turn undead without spellcasting). You have to burn a ton of uses to activate the feat, and counterspelling is a really inefficient tactic. I’ve played dedicated counterspellers (because no one who isn’t dedicated to it is going to do it), and in my experience, it doesn’t work very well and isn’t very fun. Worse, strictly speaking, options for immediate-action counterspelling (the only counterspelling worth considering) don’t apply to Spiritual Counter. Readying an action like that is very painful. And preventing a cleric from countering a spell he could not cast (because it conflicts with his alignment) seems absolutely silly: countering spells of opposing alignments seems very much an act in line with his own alignment!

Anyway, also, clerics do not “know” any spells; all of their spells are divinely granted to them each day. They can prepare any and all cleric spells up to their maximum level, without any need for prior knowledge.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ When rules are oddly phrased, answer like this help to make sense out of what looks like nonsense. (+1) \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jun 7 '16 at 21:18
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It depends on your wording.

Your character must know what spell he is countering, as in, he must be able to identify it.

This is a free action, DC (15 + spell level) to identify.

If the target of your counterspell tries to cast a spell, make a Spellcraft check (DC 15 + the spell’s level). This check is a free action. If the check succeeds, you correctly identify the opponent’s spell and can attempt to counter it.

If you fail this check you cannot attempt a counter spell.

You now do not need to have the spell as a "known spell" or "prepared spell" because:

counter another caster's spell, as though you had cast the same spell yourself

You do need to meet any access requirements to do this. Example, a cleric cannot counter a wizard spell that is not also on the cleric list. (unless he has a feat or domain that has that spell on its accessible spell list) Or in other words, your character has to have the ability to have learned/prepared the spell.

be able to cast that spell as if it were on your spell list

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I think both of your points need more backing up, personally. I’m not convinced that Spiritual Counter requires identification of the spell to counter, as regular counterspelling does, and I definitely disagree about your “access requirements” assertion and would like to see more information on your basis for that assertion. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jun 9 '16 at 20:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ It references "see counterspelling" when it states that you can cast the spell as if you cast it yourself. counterspelling requires a spellcraft check to identify the spell before you can cast it yourself. "be able to cast that spell as if it were on your spell list" is exactly an access requirement. It means that your character needs to be able to access that spell. Whether its feats, ioun stones, or multiclassing, etc. \$\endgroup\$ – Drew Major Jun 10 '16 at 17:41

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