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View Full Version : Plural spellcasting requirements for PrC entry [3.5]



Curmudgeon
2011-01-28, 03:44 AM
The points addressed in the "Simple Q&A" thread:

A 44

Yes, Alacritous Cogitation is a way to spontaneously cast a spell, and it will satisfy a prerequisite that requires that. Alacritous Cogitation will not satisfy a prerequisite of the form "ability to spontaneously cast spells", because the single spell per day afforded by the feat cannot give you the plural spells required.


A44, Dispute A prerequisite of the form "ability to spontaneously cast spells" has no time limiter on it. Assuming that it means spells in a given day is just as much reading intention as assuming that it means spells per round. Seriously, if you get too hung up on that plural, you will end up with needing to cast more than one spell simultaneously, which is also a possible reading.

Alacritous Cogitation does allow one to cast multiple spells spontaneously, and within the same 24 hour period, if you can somehow show by RAW that that is required.


The limit on time is before prestige class selection. From Dungeon Master's Guide, page 176:
And here's the information on timing from that citation: So:

Advancement is immediate upon attaining the necessary XP.
If you have not already met all the requirements of a prestige class at that time, you cannot enter the class.
If you have the ability to cast plural spells spontaneously before level advancement, you've met the entry requirement. Otherwise you have not.

Allowing the level advancement qualification to be met over multiple days would make entry requirements like "Able to cast at least five spells ..." always equivalent to "Able to cast at least one spell ...", which isn't what the rules state.


A44 further dispute (we should make a new thread for this)

Curmudgeon, you know that the "plural" debate is bunk. Basically what you're saying is that say...a Sorcerer8/Fatespinner4 who cast all of his 4th level and higher spells couldn't use any of his Fickle Finger of Fate ability. Fatespinner requires "Spells: Able to cast 4th-level arcane spells, including at least one divination spell of 1st level or higher." Complete Arcane has the clause Because by your reading, he wouldn't be able to cast any more appropriate level spells that day, so he wouldn't qualify for Fatespinner, and all of his Fatespinner abilities would turn off. Or heck, even if he cast all of his 4th+ level spells BUT ONE, they would shut off, since he would only know a single spell of 4th level or higher.

No, obviously when they say "able to cast X level spells", they mean that the character has the potential to cast them, not has them for immediate disposal. If both options could be valid, but one of them makes the game not work properly, why do you cling to it? Why do you champion it when it only confuses people? I mean, I know you like to stay as close to RAW, but you have to admit that there is another way to interpret it, one which causes MUCH less screwy rule malfunctions, that it might just be the correct interpretation?

Curmudgeon
2011-01-28, 03:54 AM
Curmudgeon, you know that the "plural" debate is bunk.
...
No, obviously when they say "able to cast X level spells", they mean that the character has the potential to cast them, not has them for immediate disposal.
I've already addressed this point. You would, in effect, turn "Able to cast at least five spells ..." into "Able to cast at least one spell ...", if you've got the ability to pick one different spell each day. That is definitely not what the rules state.

I mean, I know you like to stay as close to RAW, but you have to admit that there is another way to interpret it, one which causes MUCH less screwy rule malfunctions, that it might just be the correct interpretation?
I believe that following the RAW in the number of spells required for PrC entry also leads to "less screwy rules malfunctions". Spreading out entry requirements over several days, with the right feats, would allow prestige class entry sufficiently early that I'd call a "screwy rule malfunction" an appropriate label.

JaronK
2011-01-28, 07:05 AM
What is this, a thing on whether having a single spell slot lets you qualify for having "ability to cast 2nd level spells" or something? Hasn't this one been settled ages ago? It counts. You have the ability to cast one today, one tomorrow, one the next day... if I say I have the ability to build cabinets, would you call me a liar because I only built one so far and can only build one per day?

JaronK

dextercorvia
2011-01-28, 09:29 AM
Curmudgeon: according to your reading (almost) no one qualifies for something with the ability to cast spells, since leveling is instantaneous, and there are very few abilities that allow you to cast two spells at the same time.

Isn't there also a clause that allows you to save your XP and not level yet (usually for the purposes of item creation)?

Keld Denar
2011-01-28, 10:17 AM
Now, I'm no gramar guru, but isn't it possible to use a plural word in a singular sense? Like, when you are refering to a group of things. I mean, you can have one person, you can have two people, and you can have a people, like, the Apache people, or the Irish people, or the Germanic people. Similarly, you have a single spell, Solid Fog...you have two spells, Solid Fog and Orb of Fire...and you have a group of spells, THE 4th level spells.

And you haven't addressed my Sorc/Fatespinner example yet. If he uses all of his 4th+ level spells, in a day, can he still use his abilities?

If he uses all of his 4th+ spells in a day, and later gains enough XP to level up, can he not take another level in Fatespinner? If your interpretation is correct, he would always have to keep at least 2 4th+ spells in reserve if he figured he was gonna "level up", because if he didn't he wouldn't qualify for his next PrC level.

That makes NO sense. Absolutely no sense. Why do you perpetuate this then? Surely the potential to enter a PrC 1-2 levels early is less screwy than some of your abilities turning off arbitrarily, or inability to take levels in a certain PrC depending on the time of day. Seriously. One interpretation is slightly abusive. The other makes the game stop working, basically a divide by 0 error. There is no middle ground here. It either works, or the game doesn't.

Jarian
2011-01-28, 10:23 AM
I've always thought this was the silliest argument I've ever read as far as D&D is concerned. It's like you want to be right, despite obvious writer, game, and player intent. If that isn't enough to convince you, then nothing we say will either, so why bother?

Alternate reading of the above: Allow me to jump on the dogpile of "you're wrong, give up", because I have nothing new to add to this discussion.

Psyren
2011-01-28, 10:36 AM
Also - A level 4 sorcerer only has 1 2nd-level spell. So he is completely ineligible for Mystic Theurge, right?

Wrong. (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/fc/20060616a)

stainboy
2011-01-28, 10:48 AM
Check the sample character for the Hospitaler PrC. Paladin 5 / Hospitaler 2. Hospitaler requires the character to be "Able to cast 1st-level divine spells."

E: Psyren beat me. Same point, different example.

Zherog
2011-01-28, 10:51 AM
Now, I'm no gramar guru, but isn't it possible to use a plural word in a singular sense?

Yes, and your example is spot on. And, in my opinion, your extension of the example into, "Similarly, you have a single spell, Solid Fog...you have two spells, Solid Fog and Orb of Fire...and you have a group of spells, THE 4th level spells." is also spot on.

Psyren
2011-01-28, 11:15 AM
Check the sample character for the Hospitaler PrC. Paladin 5 / Hospitaler 2. Hospitaler requires the character to be "Able to cast 1st-level divine spells."

E: Psyren beat me. Same point, different example.

I don't mind - the more examples we find, the sooner we can lay this ridiculous misconception to rest.

Curmudgeon
2011-01-28, 12:41 PM
The Fatespinner point hinges on this unique rule in Complete Arcane, on page 17:

Should a character find herself in a position (because of changed alignment, lost levels, or the like) where she no longer meets the requirements of a prestige class, she loses all special abilities (but not Hit Dice, base attack bonus, or base save bonus) gained from levels of the prestige class.
This isn't limited to Fatespinner or other PrC spellcasting qualifications. Requiring a character to continuously satisfy prestige class entry requirements will cause them to permanently lose all special abilities of a class for diverse reasons. In addition to the many PrCs with spellcasting requirements who could fail their requirements by exhausting their available spells, consider the following failure modes:

Acolyte of the Skin, Alienist, Master Transmogrifist, Mindbender, Wild Mage: after wearing a Helm of Opposite Alignment
Acolyte of the Skin, Blood Magus, Enlightened Fist, Geometer: temporary level drain
Enlightened Fist: ability damage dropping below DEX 13 or WIS 13
Complete Arcane provides no mechanism for regaining those special abilities; they're lost forever.

Telonius
2011-01-28, 12:51 PM
This is seriously sounding like the "No Homers Club" argument.


A paladin will never knowingly associate with evil characters.

Ah, characters. He's allowed to associate with one! :smalltongue:

Coidzor
2011-01-28, 12:55 PM
If the DM's going to allow for squeezing to qualify in the first place, I see no reason for a DM to disqualify the Alacritous Cogitation route compared to the others.

If the DM is not going to allow squeezing than correctness is irrelevant.

Keld Denar
2011-01-28, 12:57 PM
This isn't limited to Fatespinner or other PrC spellcasting qualifications. Requiring a character to continuously satisfy prestige class entry requirements will cause them to permanently lose all special abilities of a class for diverse reasons. In addition to the many PrCs with spellcasting requirements who could fail their requirements by exhausting their available spells, consider the following failure modes:


You just made my point even more solid. So...a Sorcerer6/Fatespinner4 who casts all of his 4th+ level spells in a day loses all of his Fatespinner abilities PERMANENTLY, according to your interpretation. Thats so self-defeating in can't possibly be the correct interpretation.

So again, I ask...if there are two ways to potentially interpret something, both "correct" by RAW, why do you insist on championing the one that literally BREAKS the game in a way that causes it to cease to work?

Psyren
2011-01-28, 01:03 PM
So again, I ask...if there are two ways to potentially interpret something, both "correct" by RAW, why do you insist on championing the one that literally BREAKS the game in a way that causes it to cease to work?

Because RAW is holy, heathen! Unclean! Uncleeeeeeean!!!

*sprays Keld with seltzer*

Also, the Complete Arcane tangent has nothing to do with the "plural spells" argument, so I'm curious why it was even mentioned.

Keld Denar
2011-01-28, 01:12 PM
I mentioned it to counter Curmudgeon's statement that you have to qualify "immediately when you reach enough experience". If thats the case, then if you later don't qualify, due to casting all of your spells (or even all but one, according to that interpretation of plural spells), then you'd lose access to all of the abilities. Obviously, prereqs refer only to the potential to cast the spells, not the actual ability to cast those spells that that exact instant, or any instant at all.

If you have to be able to cast multiple spells to qualify for a PrC, then any time you aren't able to cast multiple spells (because you've already cast all of your spells that day), you no longer qualify for the PrC and thus lose all of its abilities. Permanently.

Thats the logical extrapolation of the rules under Curmudgeon's reading of plural spells. Which completely breaks the game. And not in an Incantatrix kind of way...more of a Truenamer kind of way.

Psyren
2011-01-28, 01:13 PM
I agree - this is slavish dedication to RAW of the "drowning to heal" and "monks aren't proficient with unarmed strikes" variety.

Curmudgeon
2011-01-28, 01:17 PM
So...a Sorcerer6/Fatespinner4 who casts all of his 4th+ level spells in a day loses all of his Fatespinner abilities PERMANENTLY, according to your interpretation. Thats so self-defeating in can't possibly be the correct interpretation.
And yet an Enlightened Fist who's hit with Ray of Enfeeblement to below 13 Strength also permanently loses all special abilities of the class, and that's not subject to interpretation. It is, indeed, a very harsh rule for the prestige classes in Complete Arcane, and one I see as better left for another discussion.

Keld Denar
2011-01-28, 01:22 PM
Its not even that. I'm ok with dedication to RAW. But in this case, there is a patch of grey. If you read it like I'm suggesting, that being able to cast spells means the potential to cast a given spell of a given level on a given day, then everything works out nicely and everyone plays well together. Its also gramatically correct according to the ability to refer to a group of items as a singular unit. Curmudgeon's interpretation is also gramatically correct, and RAW valid. The difference is, his interpretation makes the rules of the game fall apart, and it makes basically all of the PrCs in CArcane NOT WORK.

In the face of two potential interpretations, he clings to the one that makes the least sense. That is the frustrating thing. I'm ok with acknowledging that things are wrong, and house ruling them to fix them, but deliberately reading something in a manner that makes the game not work when a perfectly valid interpretation is also available is just needlessly complicated. Its intentionally obfuscating rules where no confusion is needed.

dextercorvia
2011-01-28, 01:23 PM
If you have to be able to cast multiple spells to qualify for a PrC, then any time you aren't able to cast multiple spells (because you've already cast all of your spells that day), you no longer qualify for the PrC and thus lose all of its abilities. Permanently.

Or, you know, sleep so that you can regain spells. Or are knocked unconscious, or are Silenced and forgot to prepare two forth level spells without verbal components, or step into an Antimagic field (even with your tinfoil hat on, there is an instant where you couldn't cast multiple 4th level spells), or....

G3N3R3L GHOST
2011-01-28, 01:26 PM
I would almost be willing to say that the point of view in which you take this on would depend on the wording of the PrC in question. If it merely states "Must be able to spontaneously cast arcane spells" Or whatever then having the ability to cast one spell spontaneously would work IMO. However if the wording is more specific to a number such as "Must be able to spontaneously cast 3 arcane spells of 3rd level or higher" then I would say you do in fact have to have 3 DIFFERENT spells that fit that criteria. Obviously if they are stating a specific number then using 1 spell 4 times is kind of a silly argument. However if it doesn't specify and just says you can cast spells then technically you are meeting the prereqs for that because you can cast spells. It is the same spell multiple times...but it is still the plural function of the word. That is my take on it for whatever that is worth ahha

Tyndmyr
2011-01-28, 01:33 PM
What is this, a thing on whether having a single spell slot lets you qualify for having "ability to cast 2nd level spells" or something? Hasn't this one been settled ages ago? It counts. You have the ability to cast one today, one tomorrow, one the next day... if I say I have the ability to build cabinets, would you call me a liar because I only built one so far and can only build one per day?

JaronK

Jaron is, as usual, correct.

Really not much more to add here. Again, it's all in the wording. If it's got a number such as "3 spells", they do indeed mean 3 distinct, different spells. A mere pluralization does not have such specificity.

Any other interpretation results in all sorts of qualification madness as you cast your prepared spells for the day.

Douglas
2011-01-28, 01:39 PM
And yet an Enlightened Fist who's hit with Ray of Enfeeblement to below 13 Strength also permanently loses all special abilities of the class, and that's not subject to interpretation. It is, indeed, a very harsh rule for the prestige classes in Complete Arcane, and one I see as better left for another discussion.
That's funny, I don't see "strength 13+" anywhere in the Enlightened Fist prereqs list. If you meant dexterity or wisdom, presumably in reference to the Stunning Fist requirement, I'll point out that the rule is A character canít use a feat if he or she has lost a prerequisite. (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/feats.htm#prerequisites) Being unable to use a feat is not the same thing as not having that feat. A character who has been damaged or drained below 13 dexterity and wisdom is unable to use Stunning Fist but still has it and still satisfies Enlightened Fist's prerequisites.

Keld Denar
2011-01-28, 01:48 PM
Also, a Monk gains Stunning Fist even if he doesn't meet the prereqs. A Ranger2 with a 10 dex still has, and can use TWFing because it says he can. A Stunning Fist also has a BAB prereq of +8, which a 1st level monk doesn't meet. He can still use it, because it says he can, even if he doesn't meet the prereqs. ANY of the prereqs, not just the BAB prereqs, but also the stat prereqs.


Special
A monk may select Stunning Fist as a bonus feat at 1st level, even if she does not meet the prerequisites. A monk who selects this feat may attempt a stunning attack a number of times per day equal to her monk level, plus one more time per day for every four levels she has in classes other than monk.

So, what causes an EF to lose his class abilities?

stainboy
2011-01-28, 03:20 PM
Ah, characters. He's allowed to associate with one! :smalltongue:

Spend it wisely. What level does a warlock have to be to craft a Holy Avenger?

JaronK
2011-01-28, 05:38 PM
An interesting note though... I'm looking at Complete Warrior's entry on what happens if you no longer qualify for a PrC. It says "If a character no longer meets the requirements for a prestige class, he or she loses the benefit of any class features or other special abilities granted by the class. The character retains Hit Dice gained from advancing in the class as well as any improvements to base attack bonus and base save bonuses that the class provided." But that's it. It never actually says you ever get the class back when you get the prerequisites back... ouch. Does anyone know if it allows for you to get those things back later? Feats say you can re use the abilities once you re qualify, but I don't see anything like that for PrCs.

JaronK

Psyren
2011-01-28, 05:56 PM
Spend it wisely. What level does a warlock have to be to craft a Holy Avenger?

Depends on how high he can get his UMD check.


Does anyone know if it allows for you to get those things back later? Feats say you can re use the abilities once you re qualify, but I don't see anything like that for PrCs.

JaronK

Just get level-drained, respec/reform your character and go back in normally. Or reroll a new character with the exact same backstory and levels and swap his initials (e.g. Bames Jond.) And if your DM says no, play Plants vs. Zombies until he's ready to accommodate you with a houserule.

On the plus side, CWar also says "or the loss of a magic item that granted an important ability." That indirectly validates all the advice we've been giving to use a Ring of Evasion to qualify for Fochlucan Lyrist (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/ex/20050107a&page=2), since clearly items can be used to qualify for PrCs. :smalltongue:

JaronK
2011-01-28, 06:08 PM
Wait, people have been saying that items can't qualify you for PrCs? Yeah, they definitely can (this is just one case where that's mentioned).

Anyway I checked Complete Arcane, and it has the same language about losing the PrC, but again with no way of getting it back. That could REALLY suck for PrCs that require an alignment... one helm of opposite alignment and the character is completely and permanently hosed with no hope of fixing it.

JaronK

Psyren
2011-01-28, 06:15 PM
Anyway I checked Complete Arcane, and it has the same language about losing the PrC, but again with no way of getting it back. That could REALLY suck for PrCs that require an alignment... one helm of opposite alignment and the character is completely and permanently hosed with no hope of fixing it.

JaronK

It's just another example of broken/poorly-worded RAW. No reason to get worried over it, it's pretty easy to disregard.

I'm fine with the "if you stop qualifying you lose the benefits" bit (so, no Chaotic Evil Fists of Raziel) but the other part is as dead to me as the astral construct nerf.

JaronK
2011-01-28, 06:53 PM
Yeah, but I like knowing what the rules actually say before deciding to house rule. Does it actually say anywhere that you can fix your PrC status after it's lost?

JaronK

dextercorvia
2011-01-28, 11:23 PM
Not to the best of my knowledge.

Analytica
2011-01-29, 05:50 PM
Technically, isnt this one of the things PHB2 rebuilding is for?

nedz
2011-01-29, 07:01 PM
Wait, people have been saying that items can't qualify you for PrCs? Yeah, they definitely can (this is just one case where that's mentioned).

Anyway I checked Complete Arcane, and it has the same language about losing the PrC, but again with no way of getting it back. That could REALLY suck for PrCs that require an alignment... one helm of opposite alignment and the character is completely and permanently hosed with no hope of fixing it.

JaronK

Er no, we settled this one in a thread a couple of weeks back.
Fochlucan Lyrist (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/ex/20050107a&page=2) Requires the Evasion Ability, which the Ring does NOT give you.

I agree with you on the other points however.

JaronK
2011-01-29, 07:05 PM
Ah yes, because it gives you "the ability to avoid damage as if she had evasion." Well fair enough. But the overall idea that items can't qualify you for PrCs is completely unsupported.

JaronK

Greenish
2011-01-29, 07:05 PM
Er no, we settled this one in a thread a couple of weeks back.
Fochlucan Lyrist (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/ex/20050107a&page=2) Requires the Evasion Ability, which the Ring does NOT give you.But the fact that Ring of Evasion doesn't give Evasion doesn't mean that no magic items can satisfy PrC entry requirements, does it?