Day-to-Day Acquisition of Cleric Spells

- - - - -
Character Spells - - - DMG

It is well known to all experienced players that clerics, unlike magic-users,
have their spells bestowed upon them by their respective deities.
By meditation and prayer the clerics receive the specially empowered words which form the various spells possible for them --
although as with the spells of magic-users,
the utterance of any given set of key sounds not only causes the desired spell to take effect,
but it likewise wipes the memory of the sounds from the mind of the utterer, as each set of sounds is an energy trigger (see SPELL CASTING).
Of utmost importance, then, is the relationship between cleric and deity.

Each cleric must have his or her own deity, so when a new player opts to
become a cleric (including a druid), you must inform them as to which
deities exist in your campaign milieu and allow the individual to select
which one of them he or she will serve. This will not necessarily establish
the alignment of the cleric, so at the same time the cleric PC
should also state his or her ethos (not necessarily to the other players). It is
then assumed that prior to becoming a first level cleric, the player
character received a course of instruction, served a novitiate, and has
thoroughly read and committed to memory the teachings of and prayers to
his or her chosen deity, so that the character is dedicated to this deity and
is able to perform as a cleric thereof. It is this background which enables
the cleric character to use first level spells

Furthermore, continued service and activity on behalf of the player character's
deity empower him or her to use second level spells as well, but
thereafter another agency must be called upon.

Cleric spells of third, fourth, and fifth level are obtained through the aid of
supernatural servants of the cleric's deity. That is, through meditation and
prayer, the cleric's needs are understood and the proper spells are given to
him or her by the minions of the deity.

Cleric spells of sixth and seventh level are granted by direct communication
from the deity itself. There is no intermediary in this case, and the
cleric has a direct channel to the deity, from whom he or she receives the
special power to cast the given spells of these levels.

Lesser clerics, then, draw only upon their education, training, and experience
to gain spells, just as higher clerics do when they renew their first
and second level spells. In order to gain third, fourth, and fifth level
spells, however, higher clerics must reach intermediaries of their respective
deities in order to have these powers bestowed upon them from the
plane of their deity. When clerics become very great, they must petition
their deity personally in order to receive the powerful words which
enable the casting of sixth and seventh level cleric spells. It is obvious,
therefore, that clerics wishing to use third or higher level spells must be
in good standing.

If they have not been faithful to their teachings, followed the aims of
their deity, contributed freely to the cause and otherwise acted according
to the tenets of their faith, it becomes unlikely that they will receive
intermediary aid unless they make proper atonement and sacrifice. There
can be no question that such clerics must be absolutely exemplary in
their activities, expressions, and attitudes if they dare to contact their
deity directly!

In the former case, where the unfaithful cleric desires third through fifth
level spells, the minions (angels, demi-gods, or whatever) will be likely
to require the cleric to spend 2-8 days in prayer, fasting, and contemplation
of his or her transgressions, making whatever sacrifices and atonement
are necessary thereafter, before freely granting those powers once
again. Sacrifice and atonement will probably be left to the discretion of
the cleric, and it is possible that the minions of the deity will empower
him or her with spells to complete these steps, but the cleric had better
do the correct thing, or face the consequences.

In the latter case, where the unfaithful cleric desires spells above the fifth
level, the deity is certainly going to be highly displeased and absolute.
The deity (you, the DM) will point out all of the transgressions, state a
course of action which must be followed to regain good graces grant the
spells which the deity deems are necessary to complete the course (but
never in excess of those which the cleric could normally use!), and pronounce
anathema <link:Ceremony?> upon the cleric until satisfactory redemption has been
made - i.e., the cleric can not again call upon any help from his or her
deity, or its minions, until he or she has regained favor through a course
prescribed by the deity.

A cleric who, at this or any juncture, changes deities is going to have a
difficult time. His or her former deity will mark the cleric. The new deity
(and associated minions) will be suspicious. Once a cleric changes
deities, he or she must thereafter be absolutely true to the new calling, or
he or she will be snuffed out by some godlike means. It is 90% unlikely
that the cleric's first deity will accept him or her back into the fold after
falling away, unless some special redemptive agency is involved. There
is no salvation for a thrice-changed cleric; he or she is instantly killed.
Any change of alignment which causes such a deity change is applicable,
unless the change is involuntary. (See CHANGING ALIGNMENT.)

Note that the above applies to paladins with respect to their clerical spell
powers and to rangers with respect to their druidic clerical spell powers.

Question: When the DMG or PH states that
high-level clerical spells are only given by a deity directly,
does that mean directly each time a cleric wants to recharge a high-level spell,
or directly only the first time, upon acquiring a new level?

Answer: In the DDG it is stated that the gods punish their
clerics’ transgressions by withholding higher-level spells when they do
wrong. From this, it can be inferred that it is necessary for a cleric to
make a new appeal to his/her deity for a spell of third level or higher
every time such a spell is desired. — J. Ward, W. Niebling


richardstincer wrote:
Gary, I don't remember if any printing of the ADandD 1st edit. PHB or DMG--from the years of 1978 to 1988--mentions something about what time of day a nondruid cleric can pray for magic spells. Does the 1988 GreyHawk Adventures hardcover rulebook, which is compatible with ADandD 1st edit., mention the time of day when nondruid clerics can pray for magic spells? If none of the ADandD 1st edit. rulebooks mention it, can the player choose evening twilight as the preferred time?

Ho richard,
That's more that's up to the DM. Generaly its assumed by most, as clerics are adventuring, they sleep through the night, say their morning prayers before the new day's action commences, and thus have their spells renewed, even as magic-users are cracking open their spell books to memorize their new ones for the day.