The number of spells a sorcerer can learn is listed in the PHB, e.g. a 5th level sorcerer can know 6 spells total. For a wizard, it says they learn 2 spells per level.

This however is not shown for the cleric. How many spells can a cleric learn(not prepare) per cleric level, not including domain spells?


3 Answers 3


How many spells can a Cleric learn?

None, because Clerics 'Prepare' their spells without having to learn them.

Clerics, Paladins, and Druids are unique spellcasters in that, unlike every other spellcaster, they do not learn a certain number of spells per level up. This means that they have the entire list of spells to work from. A cleric doesn't learn any spells mechanically, but they do prepare them, which means they do not have to learn them as they gain levels. The process of preparing spells is detailed in the PHB on page 58:

... you prepare the list of cleric spells that are available for you to cast, choosing from the cleric spell list. When you do so, choose a number of spells... The spells must be of a level for which you have spell slots.

(The cleric spell list it mentions is found starting on page 207.)

A 1st level Cleric can prepare a number of spells from the full list of 1st level spells equal to their Wisdom Modifier + Cleric Level per day. Once a Cleric, Druid, or Paladin reaches the proper level to gain 2nd level spell slots, again they can prepare spells from the full list of 2nd level spells. (The same section on page 58 gives a good example of a level 3 cleric, who has 1st and 2nd level spell slots.) You can then change your list of prepared spells in between long rests, which makes Clerics, Druids, and Paladins very versatile with their spells, as they can be changed to suit the needs of the party.

  • 7
    \$\begingroup\$ Wizards also prepare spells, they do no know them. While they are limited to he spells in their spell book, in theory, that could be every wizard spell. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dale M
    Commented Oct 25, 2016 at 19:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DaleM for the same reason I am not mentioning the different permanently prepared spells from each Divine Domain, I am purposely not including that Wizards BOTH Learn spells each level, AND have to Prepare a certain number of them from that growing list. The question has been answered directly, without adding filler information that, while good information, is irrelevant to the answer. This was about Clerics particularly. \$\endgroup\$
    – Airatome
    Commented Oct 25, 2016 at 23:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ And what happens with spells from others books or homebrew (like this page)? Does the cleric know all of them? \$\endgroup\$
    – Ender Look
    Commented Oct 28, 2018 at 4:56
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @EnderLook: Unofficial homebrew has no real bearing on how the cleric's spellcasting works. They can prepare any official spell of any spell level that the cleric can cast; beyond that, any additional options or restrictions are up to the DM. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Feb 19, 2019 at 2:53

Clerics (and other classes like Wizard and Paladin) prepare spells, they don't know spells (like the Sorcerer, Warlock, Bard and Ranger). Read the 'Preparing and Casting Spell' entry in the Cleric's 'Spellcasting' section. They can prepare a number of spells equal to their Wis modifier + their Cleric level. A Cleric knows no spells (unless you want to count domain auto-prepared spells as 'known')

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    \$\begingroup\$ It would improve this answer to explain in more detail what "know" and "prepare" mean for a beginning player to understand; it would help to also explain (since your are referring to them) the always prepared nature of domain spells ... using 'know' for those actually detracts from your answer. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 25, 2016 at 21:29

In the magic system of D&D, Clerics are a bit unique in that they get their spells from their deity. While technically, they don't know their spells, the still need to prepare them. While that's the mechanical answer, it seems that you're asking for the more practical answer...

The Cleric is also unique in how the total number of spells that he has prepared is computed. He prepares (Wisdom modifier + Cleric level) spells between long rests. IN ADDITION, he prepares the spells that the Players' Handbook says that his domain gives him at the levels when he can learn them. For example, a 3rd level Cleric of Life Domain with a Wisdom of 16 (Modifier +3), would prepare 3 Cantrips and 6 spells PLUS he would also have Bless, Cure Wounds, Lessor Restoration and Spiritual Weapon automatically prepared.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ -1: You don't actually make it clear that a Cleric doesn't have to learn any spells, since they effectively "know" their whole list. Also, the way clerics know, prepare, and cast spells is identical to the Druid, so calling it "unique" is a little misleading. We only have 2 examples so far, but every divine full spellcasting class prepares spells the same way, down to domain spell selection. \$\endgroup\$
    – DuckTapeAl
    Commented Oct 26, 2016 at 19:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ IIRC, the Druid class was a Sub-class of Cleric in 1st edition and 5e went back to 1e, streamlined it and made a few improvements, so that makes sense. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 26, 2016 at 20:39

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