Healing has almost always been relegated to the realm of the divine. Somehow Bards sneak into the mix here, but we’ll ignore those flighty fools for now since their shortened spell list and spells per day limit them as efficient healers.
Dig in to find one method that arcane spellcasters can use to gain access to a large number of healing spells.
The Money Maker
Many of you have probably seen the feat Arcane Disciple. It’s the workhorse of this combo. If not, here’s the dirt:
Benefit: 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.
The pre-reqs need some consideration though.
Prerequisite: Knowledge (religion) 4 ranks, Spellcraft 4 ranks, able to cast arcane spells, alignment matches your deity’s alignment.
The only thing that’ll possibly give you some trouble will be having a deity with the Healing domain. It’s not difficult, but you’ll have to be sure to work this into your character. Luckily this feat is something that an arcane caster can take at 1st level if they’re so inclined.
One Healing Spell Per Level – Lame
This is all well and good – one healing spell per level per day. It’s certainly useful, but you’re far from a substitute for a cleric of equal (or even half) level for healing capability. The main benefit clerics have is that they can automatically convert their prepared to healing spells of a given level – offering the possibility of a healing spell for every single spell slot they have without even having to memorize them ahead of time.
To add some juice to this bad boy we need to dip into the Eberron Campaign Setting and dig up a feat called Spontaneous Casting. This is one of the shortest-written feats in any book:
Prerequisite: Caster level 5th.
Benefit: You can exchange a spell you have prepared for another spell on your spell list (or for wizards, out of your spellbook) of the same level.
Yup, that’s it. This makes Spontaneous Casting a great 6th level feat to take after reaching caster level five.
With this combo you can now swap out a prepared spell for the healing spells that you now have access to.
The Nitty Gritty Details
I’ve seen some discussion (arguing?) over this combination in the past. Since the logic is somewhat nuanced, let me spec out my line of thought on it.
- Per Arcane Disciple you get to “add the chosen domain’s spells to your class list of arcane spells”.
- As a Wizard, you get to add 2 spells to your spellbook that you’re allowed to cast (per PHB pg 178).
- Since there would be no other way to add healing spells to their spellbooks, this is the only method that they would be able to. Even with the spells added to their spell list, a divine spell is still a divine spell and an arcane spell is still an arcane spell. This would prevent an arcane spellcaster from adding the cure spells from a divine scroll.
- Now that the spells are in the spellbook, you can use Spontaneous Casting since it allows you to swap out prepared spells for spells “out of your spellbook”.
Seems simple enough, right? That’s what I thought.
Some Other Alternatives
Complete Divine has some other feats that may have some limited usefulness as a substitute to Spontaneous Casting: Spontaneous Healer, Spontaneous Summoner and Spontaneous Wounder. They allow you to substitute healing, summoning and inflict spells respectively. These feats carry the limitation of only allowing you to do this a number of times per day equal to your Wisdom modifier.
Their key role would be for a Druid that needs to convert to heal/harm spells to make them more versatile.
The gotcha is that the spells need to be part of your spell list, so for an arcane caster to make use of these, they’d have to get the spells from Diving Disciple.
Some people argue that the Extra Spell feat allows you to add spells that are not on your spell list to your list of known spells. I don’t share this opinion. What allows this to work with Arcane Disciple is the language “add the chosen domain’s spells to your class list of arcane spells”. With it then on your class list, you’re in the clear. With Extra Spell, a diving spell is still a divine spell and an arcane caster can’t cast it.
Is this combination worth it?
I think it completely depends on the campaign and PC in question. In a group without any other healers or where the healer may be a druid or bard, this could be very useful. It could also be useful in very large parties where there’s only one healer that’s very taxed and never gets to cast any of their other spells. Playing an arcane caster that’s very devout (as the feats certainly imply) could certainly open up some interesting RP situations.
Just remember that there’s a real trade-off though. Two feats for a wizard is not a small deal. It does, however, offer a great amount of versatility. Even Spontaneous Casting alone would be a great addition to any wizard’s arsenal.