Paring down the Divine spells D&D

As noted in our level-less redesign of D&D, combining that concept with a Cleric’s ability to cast any spell “of their level and below”, we’ve created an incongruity – and a rather serious one at that.

The proposed solution is to pare down the divine spell list into something more manageable, balanced and useful for any Cleric. Whether she’s a well seasoned or a novice, the divine answers to her requests should mechanically giver her benefit and provide interesting decisions.

Once again embracing the Cleric’s role as one of support, I took a hard look at the d20 SRD spell listing and came up with the following new list of spells available to a sole Cleric. There may be others to be added later, but this list should provide a general idea for our discussion.

Divine Spell Effect
Aid +1 To Hit
WILL saves increased by WIS
Gain WIS temporary HP
Cure Wounds
(Cause Wounds)
Restore 2d4+WIS HP
(Cause 2d4+WIS damage)
Detect Magic Touched magical or enchanted items glow
Note that the nature of the magic remains unknown
Detect Undead Detects the general presence of undead
Note that neither the exact location nor the nature or number are divined
Divine Grace DEX increased by WIS
Faithful Endurance CON increased by WIS
Find Traps Causes trapped objects to glow
25% + 5% per WIS chance of success
Holy Might STR increased by WIS
Creates a globe of light equivalent to a torch
(Extinguishes one light source)
Pious Insight INT increased by WIS
Resist Disease
(Cause Disease)
FORT save vs disease increased by WIS
(On failed FORT save, target takes 1d4+WIS disease damage)
Resist Fear
(Cause Fear)
WILL save vs fear increased by WIS
(On failed WILL save, target flees in fear)
Resist Paralysis
FORT save vs paralysis increased by WIS
(On failed FORT save, target becomes paralyzed)
Resist Poison
FORT save vs poison increased by WIS
(On failed FORT save, target takes 1d4+WIS poison damage)
Resistance All saves increased by 1
Sanctuary On failed WILL save, creature ignores target
Shield of Faith Armor Soak increased by WIS
Turn Undead 1d6+WIS undead take 1d6 per WIS damage


  • Reversible spells are annotated by the inclusion of their reverse in parentheses.
  • STR, INT, WIS, DEX, CON all refer to the attribute modifier.
  • Should a Cleric’s WIS modifier be less than 1, all spells grant a minimum bonus of 1.

As you can see, the support role of the Cleric is inherent in the spell listings but no spell overwhelms any other class niche. Essentially the Cleric bolsters the capabilities of the other classes while retaining the classic and iconic healing and undead turning (which is now also classified as a spell-like ability) capabilities.

Posted on
Last modified on:
This entry was posted in Game Design, Roleplaying game (RPG).
Tagged , , .
Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>