Clerics, druids, experienced paladins, and experienced rangers can cast divine spells. Unlike arcane spells, divine spells draw power from a divine source. Clerics gain spell power from deities or from divine forces. The divine force of nature powers druid and ranger spells. The divine forces of law and good power paladin spells. Divine spells tend to he less flashy, destructive, and disruptive than arcane spells. What they do better than arcane spells is heal.
Preparing Divine Spells
Divine spellcasters prepare their spells in largely the same manner as wizards, but with a few differences. The relevant ability for divine spells is Wisdom. To prepare a divine spell, a character must have a Wisdom score of 10 + the spell's level. For example, a cleric or druid must have a Wisdom score of at least 10 to prepare a 0-level spell and a Wisdom score of 11 to prepare a 1st-level spell. (Divine spellcasters often call their 0-level spells "orisons.") Likewise, bonus spells are based on Wisdom. Other differences include:
Time of Day: A divine spellcaster chooses and prepares spells ahead of time, just as a wizard does. However, divine spellcasters do nor require a period of rest to prepare spells. Instead, the character chooses a particular part of the day to pray and receive spells. The time usually is associated with some daily event. Dawn, dusk, noon, or midnight are common choices. Some deities set the time or impose other special conditions for granting spells to their clerics. If some event prevents the character from praying at the proper time, he must do so as soon as possible. If the character does not stop to pray for spells at the first opportunity, he must wait until the next day to prepare spells.
Spell Selection and Preparation: A divine spellcaster selects and prepares spells ahead of time through prayer and meditation at a particular time of day. The time required to prepare spells is the same its for a wizard (1 hour), as is the requirement for a relatively peaceful environment in which to perform the preparation. A divine spellcaster does not have to prepare all his spells at once. However, the character's mind is only considered fresh during his first daily spell preparation, so he cannot fill a slot that is empty because he has cast a spell or abandoned a previously prepared spell. However, he can spontaneously cast cure or inflict spells in place of certain prepared spells (see Spontaneous Casting of Cure and Inflict Spells, below).
Divine spellcasters do not require spellbooks. However, a character's spell selection is limited to the spells on the list for his class. Clerics, druids, paladins, and rangers have separate spell lists. Clerics also have access to two domains determined during their character creation. Each domain gives a cleric access to a domain spell at each spell level, as well as a special granted power. With access to two domain spells at each given spell level - one from each of his two domains - a cleric must prepare, as an extra domain spell, one or the other each day for each level of spell he can cast. (The extra domain spell is the +1 that appears as part of the cleric's Spells per Day figure.) If a domain spell is not on the Cleric's Spells List, it can only be prepared in a domain slot.
Recent Casting Limit: As with arcane spells, at the time of preparation any spells cast within the previous 8 hours count against the number of spells that can be prepared.
Spontaneous Casting of Cure and Inflict Spells: A good, cleric (or a cleric of a good deity) can spontaneously cast a cure spell in place of a prepared spell of the same level or higher, but not in place of an extra domain spell. An evil cleric (or a cleric of an evil deity) can spontaneously cast an inflict spell in place of a prepared nondomain spell of the same level or higher. Each neutral cleric of a neutral deity either spontaneously casts cure spells like a good cleric or inflict spells like an evil one, depending on which option the player chooses when creating the character. The divine energy of the spell that the cure or inflict spell substitutes for is converted into the cure or inflict spell as if that spell had been prepared all along.
Bringing Back the Dead: Several spells have the power to restore slain characters to life. Divine spells are better at reviving the dead than arcane spells are.
When a living creature dies, its soul departs the body, leaves the Material Plane, travels through the Astral Plane, and goes to abide on the plane where the creature's deity resides. If the creature did not worship a deity, its soul departs to the plane corresponding to its alignment. Bringing someone back from the dead means retrieving his or her soul and returning it to his or her body
Level Loss: The passage from life to death and back again is a wrenching journey for a being's soul. Consequently, any creature brought back to life usually loses one level of experience. The character's new XP total is midway between the minimum needed for his other new level and the minimum needed for the next one. If the character was 1st level, he or she loses 1 point of Constitution instead of losing a level. This level loss or Constitution loss cannot be repaired by any mortal spell, even wish or miracle. Still, the revived character can improve his or her Constitution normally (at 4th, 8th, 12th, 16th, and 20th level) and earn experience by further adventuring to regain the lost level.
Preventing Revivification: Enemies can take steps to make it more difficult for a character to be returned from the dead. Keeping the body prevents others from using raise dead or resurrection to restore the slain character to life. Casting trap the soul prevents any sort of revivification unless the soul is first released.
Revivification Against One's Will: A soul cannot be returned to life if it does not wish to be. A soul knows the name, alignment, and patron deity (if any) of the character attempting to revive it and may refuse to return on that basis. For example, if Alhandra the paladin is slain and her archenemy, a high priest of Nerull, god of death, grabs her body, Alhandra probably does not wish to be raised from the dead by him. Any attempts he makes to revive her automatically fail.
If the evil cleric wants to revive Alhandra to interrogate her, he needs to find some way to trick her soul, such as duping a good cleric into raising her and then capturing her once she's alive again.
Divine Magical Writings
Divine spells can be written down and deciphered just as arcane spells can (see Arcane Magical Writings). Any character with the Spellcraft skill can attempt to decipher the divine magical writing and identify it. However, only characters who have the spell in question (in its divine form) on their class-based spell lists can cast a divine spell from a scroll.
New Divine Spells
Divine spellcasters most frequently gain new spells in one of the following two ways:
Spells Gained at a New Level: Characters who can cast divine spells undertake a certain amount of study of divine magic between adventures. Each time a character receives a new level of divine spells, he learns new spells from that level automatically.
Independent Research: The character also can research a spell independently, much as an arcane spellcaster can. (The DUNGEON MASTER'S Guide has information on this topic.) Only the creator of such a spell can prepare and cast it, unless he decides to share it with others. Some such creators share their research with their churches, but others do not. The character can create a magic scroll (provided he has the Scribe Scroll feat) or write a special text similar to a spellbook to contain spells he has independently researched. Other divine spellcasters who find the spell in written form can learn to cast it, provided they are of sufficient level to do so and are of the same class as the creator. The process requires deciphering the writing (see Arcane Magical Writings).