[RPG] What happens if a Rainbow Servant takes levels in Mystic Theurge


When a Rainbow Servant hits level 10 they gain access to all nondomain Cleric spells. All spells that do not appear on any other spell list they have are cast as Divine spells. This means that, if they have the skills and have learned 2nd level spells, they qualify for the Mystic Theurge Prestige Class.

But what happens when you actually start to take levels in it? The text says:

When a new mystic theurge level is gained, the character gains new spells per day as if he had also gained a level in any one arcane spellcasting class he belonged to before he added the prestige class and any one divine spellcasting class he belonged to previously.

What it does not say however, here or elsewhere, that these classes have to be different classes. Do you get one level in Wizard/Warmage/whaever for being an Arcane caster, then ANOTHER level for being a Divine caster as well? The text for the Rainbow Servant says the following:

Such spells are cast as divine spells if they don’t appear on the sorcerer/wizard or bard spell lists.

So it comes down to these questions:

  • Does being able to cast Divine spells qualify you as a Divine Caster, or is there more to it than that?
  • If it is, what happens when you take levels in Mystic Theurge like this? Do you go up one level or two?
  • What happens if this means you go over 20th caster level? Do you keep gaining spell slots like a level 20+ character, or does something else happen?

Best Answer

RAW: Ambiguous

The rules are not clear on what, exactly, constitutes an “arcane spellcasting class” or a “divine spellcasting class,” probably because initially it was obvious. By default, assassins, bards, sorcerers, and wizards were the arcane spellcasting classes, blackguards, clerics, druids, and paladins were the divine spellcasting classes. There was no ambiguity: the former are the classes that cast arcane spells, and the latter are the classes that cast divine spells. Easy.

Then they printed things like Alternate Source Spell, Rainbow Servant, Sha’ir, and Southern Magician, which introduced ambiguity that hadn’t existed before. In these cases, you have spell slots from one class being used for either arcane or divine spells.

Does this new feature suddenly make the class into an “arcane spellcasting class” or “divine spellcasting class” where it wasn’t before? There hadn’t ever been a strict definition before, and they didn’t print one at this point, either. Some of these effects seem to try to include wording that prevents this kind of thing, but much of those rules are also unclear. For instance, consider this from Southern Magician: “The actual source of the spell's power doesn't change,” which Customer Service interpreted as preventing entry to mystic theurge. But it doesn’t really say that, does it? It says something about power source, which is unclear.

Unfortunately, there’s no direct, rules-as-written, “as it says on page xyz of Complete Shenanigans” kind of answer to this question.

Recommendation: Never

RAW is ambiguous, but what’s going to work well in-game is not: never, under any circumstances, should one be allowed to advance wizard spellcasting faster than the wizard does. That should never, ever happen in any game, and if you’re going to allow it you might as well allow Pun-pun.

Allowing these sorts of tricks to qualify for mystic theurge, and other prestige classes and feats that require one type of spellcasting or the other, is pretty clearly legal, RAW, and also usually far less troublesome. The only exception I’d be likely to make is the dweormerkeeper from Complete Divine’s web enhancement, but then I’d probably just ban that class outright.

Even allowing a divine-only prestige class to progress wizard spellcasting is almost-always not a problem. It’s the double-progression that should never, ever happen.