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The Divine tradition covers classes like the Cleric and the Oracle, as well as several subclasses of the Sorcerer and the Witch. Divine spells include many of the best healing and support options, but direct damage options are rare and are frequently only viable against specific creature types like celestials, fiends, and undead.

Players familiar with Pathfinder 1e should note that spell save DCs have changed since previous editions. Where in 1e your save DC included the level of the spell, in Pathfinder 2e your Spell Save DC is the same for any spell that you cast (though it gets complicated if you can cast spells from multiple traditions). If you cast a 1st-level spell one turn, then a 9th-level spell the next, they will have the same save DC. Because of this change, low-level spells can remain fantastically useful at high levels.


RPGBOT uses the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks.

  • Red: Bad, useless options, or options which are extremely situational. Nearly never useful.
  • Orange: OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances. Useful sometimes.
  • Green: Good options. Useful often.
  • Blue: Fantastic options, often essential to the function of your character. Useful very frequently.

Table of Contents


Cantrips are a go-to, perpetual source of magical options. Cantrips are always heightened to half your level rounded up, so they’ll match the level of the highest-level spells that you can cast. This scaling keeps Cantrips a reliable source of damage output at any level, though most spellcasters still want to rely on ranked spells when they suit the situation rather than counting on Cantrips as your only source of damage output. Because your number of Cantrips is limited, many spellcaster should try to split their options between damage and utility. A spellcaster whose only capability is damage is basically an archer with extra steps.

  • Chill TouchCRB: No more damage than than any other cantrip, and it’s only touch range.
  • DazeCRB: Poor damage and bad scaling. You’re gambling for critical failures to stun the target. Against single enemies that’s a bad gamble, and doing more damage to quickly eliminate the target is a better choice. Against larger numbers of low-level enemies, use area damage.
  • Detect MagicCRB: An essential for adventurers. Someone in every party needs to know this.
  • Disrupt UndeadCRB: Only situationally useful because it only affects one creature type. Don’t grab this just because it’s an easy win against undead, either. Zombies have weakness to positive damage, but that weakness isn’t universal. Skeletons, shadows, and vampires lack that vulnerability.
  • Divine LanceCRB: Alignment damage only affects creatures of an opposite alignment. For example: good damage only harms evil creatures. In many games, you’ll be playing good-aligned characters facing evil enemies, in which case this is very convenient. However, the moment you go outside of those clear opposed alignments, things start to break down and this loses effectiveness.

    The ability to deal alignment damage this easily also has some weird in-world implications. A zealous cleric might use this to scour the local population, slaying anyone who opposes the “correct” alignment, then declaring that if the victims weren’t bad people, they wouldn’t have been harmed.

  • Forbidding WardCRB: A +1 bonus is impactful, and status bonuses are the most likely to stack with other things like the circumstance bonus from Raise a Shield, but this only affects one ally and only against one enemy and only so long as you Sustain the Spell, so the cost is high and benefits are small. In the vast majority of encounters, your actions are better spent elsewhere.
  • GuidanceCRB: An excellent, easy way to assist allies with important checks. This generally won’t be worth an action in combat, but during exploration it’s fantastic. The cooldown is intentionally very long to prevent it from becoming a perpetual +1 bonus to all checks.
  • Know DirectionCRB: Very situational, and you can usually replace it with the Survival skill.
  • LightCRB: A staple utility. Often essential if no one has a free hand for a torch.
  • MessageCRB: Only situationally useful.
  • PrestidigitationCRB: Neat, but not especially impactful. A great RP tool, but you can’t solve any serious mechanical challenges with it that couldn’t be solved by mundane means.
  • Read AuraCRB: You can usually solve this with Detect Magic, which is more broadly useful.
  • ShieldCRB: One action for +1 AC and the potentially to block some damage as a Reaction. This is a great use for a spare 3rd action, and since it doesn’t care about your spellcasting stat it’s a great innate spell.
  • SigilCRB: Only situationally useful. The best use I’ve found for this is to identify imposters or to track objects that may have changed hands. Cast the mark invisibly on your allies and refresh it when it fades, then if there’s ever a question you can touch the mark to reveal it. If it’s there, you might be okay. If not, roll for initiative, because you’ve found an imposter.
  • StabilizeCRB: More reliable than Administer First Aid for much of the level range, and it doesn’t require tools, so there is some value here. If you’re investing in the Medicine skill, you can likely stop using this around level 10, if not sooner.

1st-Level Spells

  • BaneCRB: A -1 penalty isn’t mathematically significant unless the effect is applied to a large number of enemies. This can be helpful for debuffing large groups of weak enemies which are relying on their numbers to offset their relatively poor stats, and in that case your enemies will have relatively poor saves so they’re more likely to fail the Will save. But in those cases it’s typically more effective to cast an area damage spell to quickly reduce the number of enemies rather than trying to debuff them.
  • BlessCRB: +1 to attacks is a consistently useful bonus at any level, makin Bless useful at any character level. The 1-minute duration is enough to last through most fights, and if you can cast it before initiating combat, you can start with a minor but useful mathematical advantage. However, the range of Bless is extremely limited and spending actions to Sustain the Spell in order to grow the radius is costly and slow. In close quarters or alongside ranged weapon-using allies, this can work very well, but if you’re fighting in a large, open space, you may struggle to keep allies inside the area.
  • CommandCRB: A simple crowd-control spell with a few options. Commanding creatures to run away or drop what they’re holding is often the best option because it can force an enemy to disarm themselves or to run out of melee (potentially provoking Reactions), and the creature must then spend Actions to address how you’ve inconvenienced them. However, it’s a single-target spell with a 2-Action casting time, and you can generally expect to cause 2 Actions worth of inconvenience if the target fails their save, which may not be a good enough trade.
  • Detect AlignmentCRB: Situational. Remember that this isn’t as simple as casting the spell and declaring who in the room is evil. Only creatures of 6th level or higher (plus any creature from the types listed in the spell) have an aura which this can detect. Once you’re high enough level that enemies of 6th level and above are the norm, you can use this for things like detecting nearby invisible creatures.
  • Disrupting WeaponsCRB: Situational by design. 1d4 isn’t a lot of damage, but against undead with Weakness to Positive damage (like zombies) this is enough to get the bonus damage from Weakness. I wouldn’t both casting this at levels higher than 1; the scaling isn’t good enough and the biggest benefit is the bonus damage from Weakness which doesn’t care about how
  • FearCRB: For half the Action cost you can Demoralize a target. Demoralize will only make them Frightened 1, but that leaves you with two Actions to cast a different spell.
  • HarmCRB: This isn’t a fantastic spell, but it has some appealing features. This allows you to heal undead, a crucial function for necromancers or groups with undead in the party. But since most parties don’t feature undead, it’s mostly a damage spell. Harm mimics Heal’s scaled versions running from one to three Actions with similar effects. Unfortunately, the two-Action and three-Action version don’t increase the damage dealt to living creatures, so it doesn’t feel as satisfying as Heal. Still, the 3-Action version affects all targets in a 30-foot radius, so you can deal a surprising amount of total damage with a single spell slot if you have enough enemies in the area.
  • HealCRB: Essential. Generally you don’t want to spend Actions in combat healing your allies unless they’re unconscious because defeating your enemies faster will generally have a better result than repeatedly healing an ally as their hit points bounce up and down. Still, when you need healing Heal is your best bet. Heal has three options from one to three Actions, each version offering a slightly different version of the spell’s effects. If you need to get a dying ally back on their feet, the 1-Action version is often sufficient and you’ll still have two Actions for something else like casting a different spell. Of course, the 1-Action version only works at Touch range, so the 2-Action version is often helpful if your ally is out of reach. The 3-Action version works in an AOE, and since Heal both heals living creatures and harms undead it’s a great option if multiple allies are down or if you’re facing a group of undead foes. The damage is Positive damage, which bypasses the resistances of most undead, and some undead like zombies are even weak to it so you get a bunch of bonus damage for dealing any amount of Positive damage.
  • Magic WeaponCRB: This won’t remain useful beyond low levels, but at levels 1 through 4, this is the best weapon you can get. It only lasts one minute, but if you cast this on the biggest weapon in the party (ideally something like a greataxe), you can get a ton of extra damage output for the spell’s duration. If you can, cast this before you jump into combat.
  • MendingCRB: Tempting if you like to use shields, but the Repair activity is more effective, doesn’t require a spell slot, and doesn’t have a Bulk limitation. You could save this for days when you’re not adventuring, but even then proficiency in Craft is easy to get and just as good.
  • ProtectionCRB: Unless the enemy is using effects which trigger the +3 bonus or you’re facing summoned creatures, this isn’t worth the spell slot. The bonus is too small to justify both a spell slot and the 2-Action casting time.
  • Ray of EnfeeblementCRB: Both an attack roll and a save, and the only effect is to debuff the target for a couple rounds.
  • SanctuaryCRB: A fantastic protection at any level. There’s a lot of things that a character can do in combat to be helpful that aren’t “hostile”.
  • Spirit LinkCRB: I’m not sure what to make of this spell. It’s obviously a gamble for the spellcaster. With a 10-minute duration, 6-second rounds, and 2 points of hp transferred per round, that’s up to 200 hit points transferred from you to the target. If you somehow have a great way to heal yourself (and only yourself), this is a great way to spread that healing around, but otherwise it’s just a way to consolidate damage on one character and rapidly kill yourself. I would never risk this unless you have a truly stellar quantity of hit points to spare or you have readily-accessible healing.
  • VentriloquismCRB: Situational, and anyone who hears the effect automatically gets a save to notice the illusion. Rely on Ghost Sound as much as you possibly can before resorting to this.

2nd-Level Spells

  • AuguryCRB: This is one of my favorite divination spells, and has been since 3rd edition DnD. While it’s not terribly precise, it’s often enough to get a party unstuck when “analysis paralysis” sets in. If your party can’t decide what to do, cast Augury and try to get some hints. Unfortunately, the flat check means that it’s only 75% accurate, so be cautious whenever you receive a result of “None”.
  • Calm EmotionsCRB: This can defuse a violent situation even if you were attacking the target(s) in the previous round. If a fight is going poorly, you can drop this on your enemies and suddenly they can’t take hostile actions for up to a minute. That’s enough time for you to run away or to otherwise get your party’s act together before the “time out” ends and you go right back to fighting.
  • Comprehend LanguagesCRB: Technically situational, but meeting a creature with which you don’t share a language is common. The wording of the spell is specific enough that you can cast this on your party’s Face while they’re actively hearing a language which they don’t know, and they’ll gain the ability to understand that language. Unfortunately you can’t grant the ability to also speak the language unless you cast this at 3rd level, but if the speaker isn’t hostile you can always cast this twice so that your Face and the other creature can understand each other despite not speaking the same language.
  • Continual FlameCRB: A permanent magical light source for 6gp and whatever it costs you to learn the spell. If you use a Spell Repertoire, don’t bother learning this. If you can, find an NPC spellcaster to cast this for you or buy an Everburning Torch for 15gp. You have the option to cast Continual Flame at higher spell levels, but the spell itself doesn’t offer any specific benefits for doing so. As far as I can tell, the only benefit is for the light to remain in effect in an area of magical darkness.
  • Create FoodCRB: Enough food to feed your party. This remains a helpful utility for your whole career, but if you can find trail rations or feed yourself by other means you should do so.
  • DarknessCRB: This is the most clearly-written version of this spell that I’ve seen across several editions of DnD and both editions of Pathfinder, but it is still very nuanced. The base version of the spell allows Darkvision to continue functioning, which means that if your party has Darkvision and your enemies do not, casting this will provide your party with a significant tactical advantage. The 4th-level heightened version of the spell also inhibits Darkvision, but weirdly that’s only appealing compared to the base 2nd-level version if your enemies have Darkvision and you do not because it inhibits everyone equally. However, the Darkness spell is by no means an unassailable way to darken the battlefield at your convenience: Darkness suppresses magical light of Darkness’s level or lower, but due to cantrips being automatically heightened, even the Light cantrip can easily override Darkness unless Darkness is heightened. This allows players to easily counter magical Darkness, but remember that your enemies can do the same.
  • DarkvisionCRB: If you or one of your allies don’t have Darkvision, this can be an important option. Sources of magical light are typically less costly, but they also give away your position which can be a problem when you’re trying to sneak around unnoticed. You can purchase a pair of Goggles of Night for 150 gp, but that might be a prohibitively high cost for several levels after the Darkvision spell becomes an option.
  • DeafnessCRB: Being deafened in combat is only a minor inconvenience for most creatures.
  • Death KnellCRB: When you first get 2nd-level spells, this is too expensive. But as you gain levels and a 2nd-level spell slot becomes easier to spend, this could be a good buff for casters planning to wade into melee like warpriest clerics and war mystery oracles. Grab a bag of rats, knock one to 0 hit points, kill it with Death Knell, and now you have a decent combat buff for 10 minutes.
  • Dispel MagicCRB: An absolutely essential option. While it’s not spelled out in the spell’s description, the Counteract rules make the level at which you cast this very important. On a Critical Success you can dispel effects up to three levels higher than the level at which you cast Dispel Magic and on a Success up to one level higher. On a failure you can still dispel effects of a lower level, so upcasting Dispel Magic can be a powerful way to strip enemies of problematic buffs or to disarm them of magic items like weapons which might dramatically boost their damage output.
  • Endure ElementsCRB: Only situationally useful. Very few games explore temperature extremes.
  • Enhance VictualsCRB: If you’re just trying to live, use Create Water and Create Food. This is for when you need to impress an NPC.
  • Faerie FireCRB: A good, inexpensive counter to invisibility at any level.
  • Gentle ReposeCRB: Only situationally useful. If raising creatures from the dead is an option, this can be very useful because you can preserve a creature’s body long enough to gather whatever you need to do so (help, diamonds, etc.). It should be sufficient to own a scroll or a wand of Gentle Repose for these emergency situations. The 5th-level option is great for preserving the bodies of important people like nobility, famous heroes, etc. if there isn’t anyone strong enough to raise them from the dead at the moment.
  • Ghoulish CravingsCRB: Inficting diseases with stage durations measured in days is nearly never useful for players.
  • Remove FearCRB: Fear effects are common, but most are also very short-lived.
  • Remove ParalysisCRB: Only situationally useful, but possibly worth having a scroll.
  • Resist EnergyCRB: A staple defensive option. 10 minutes is long enough to get you through a fight or two, and as you gain levels and additional spell slots you can afford to cast this on multiple allies or to give more than one type of damage resistance.
  • RestorationCRB: This spell is… odd. Most of the affected conditions have a short duration and go away once the spell or effect which produces them ends, typically much sooner than the 1-minute casting time of Restoration. Furthermore, “toxin” isn’t a rules term, so RAW that portion of the spell is simply non-functional. I believe it’s intended to refer to poisons, but it might also apply to diseases. I’m not sure. We’ve gotten three full reprintings of the Core Rulebook, including errata, and this hasn’t been fixed.

    At high levels, this adds the ability to remove the Doomed condition, which is crucial because being Doomed by any amount significantly increases your odds of dying.

  • Restore SensesCRB: Only situationally useful. A scroll is likely sufficient.
  • See InvisibilityCRB: A staple option for handling invisibility. At high levels casting the spell at 5th level will be a common daily occurence so that you’re always ready to face invisible enemies. The creatures and objects are still Concealed, but that won’t protect them from Fireball.
  • Shield OtherCRB: Helpful for mitigating damage which might otherwise be piled solely on your party’s Defender, and the 10-minute duration is long enough to cast this before wandering into somewhere dangerous. However, the spell ends early if you and the target are ever more than 30 feet apart, which is a frustratingly small distance and doesn’t appear to be affected by Reach Spell.
  • SilenceCRB: Combined with Invisibility or darkness, this can make a creature functionally undetectable to creatures that don’t have other strong senses like scent or tremorsense.

    The 4th-level version can be used to prevent enemy spellcasters from using spells with a Verbal component, strictly limiting their options. If you throw this on a character who can grapple effectively, they can grab an enemy spellcaster and dramatically reduce their effectiveness.

  • Sound BurstCRB: Passable AOE damage, but it won’t compete with most AOE damage options, especially once 3rd-level spells come online.
  • Spiritual WeaponCRB: Decent damage with decent scaling, you can use it from a safe distance, it uses your spellcasting ability modifier, the damage type is great, and you don’t need to commit a hand to wielding it or actions to run around in melee. You can Sustain the Spell multiple times per turn, making another Strike each time (and incurring the usual Multiple Attack Penalty), allowing this to effectively replace a real weapon for divine casters like the Cleric. Full casters also progress their proficiency to Legendary, while most weapon users stop at Master and must make up the difference with expensive runes.

    In case it wasn’t brutally obvious: This spell is better than the Warpriest Cleric’s entire set of weapon-related features.

  • StatusCRB: The duration is good, and you’ll always know when your allies are in bad shape. It seems odd to me that this doesn’t give you an impression of the target’s hit points, but “Wounded” and “Dying” are conditions affecting the creature, so at least you’ll know when they hit 0.
  • Undetectable AlignmentCRB: Extremely situational, and you can still check alignments using Divine Lance.
  • Water BreathingCRB: Only situationally useful, but when you need it there’s really no substitute. Heightening the spell increases the duration significantly, so if you need to spend a lot of time in and around water, expect to heighten this.
  • Water WalkCRB: Too situational.

3rd-Level Spells

  • Bind UndeadCRB: 1-day duration with no save. You need to do some metagaming to match the level of this spell to the level of the undead in question, which feels weird, but if you have ambitions of a skeletal entourage, you don’t have much choice.
  • BlindnessCRB: Excellent against single targets, especially enemy spellcasters who often have relatively poor Fortitude saves and need to be able to see to target many spells (spells which simply select a number of targets, such as the spell Blindness, require you to be able to see the target). Unfortunately, Blindness has the Incapacitation trait so you can’t use it effectively on small numbers of powerful creatures that are most likely to justify magically blinding them.
  • Chilling DarknessCRB: Poor damage unless you’re facing hostile celestials.
  • Circle of ProtectionCRB: A consistent and useful defensive buff, provided that you’re consistently facing enemies of a specific alignment. In many campaigns, your enemies will be evil, so in a lot of cases this will work very well. The 10-foot radius is enough that your party’s melee characters can usually stay close enough together to all benefit, but ranged characters will likely be outside of the area most of the time.

    Casting this at 4th level raises the duration to a full hour. If you don’t need a ton of time post-combat to heal and Refocus, you could easily walk this through two or three encounters in a dungeon or a similar situation.

  • Crisis of FaithCRB: Only situationally useful. I would only prepare this if you know for certain that you’re going to face enemy divine spellcasters.
  • Dream MessageCRB: Only situationally useful. I don’t recommend this for casters with a Spell Repertoire because it’s just not useful often enough to justify the space. It’s more likely that a friendly NPC will use this to communicate to the players.
  • Glyph of WardingCRB: Exceptionally abusable. A normal use case for this is to place a hostile spell on a choke point in a structure to deter intruders or to punish creatures for opening a chest with your most treasured belongings. Be cautious with area damage spells in these cases because they can cause unwanted collateral damage, such as fireballing your own bedroom. If you never went beyond these very normal cases, Glyph of Warding is neat but won’t be used frequently.

    But the abuse cases are both easy to achieve and terrifying. There is no limit on how many glyphs of warding you can have in existence, no limit on moving an affected container, no cost beyond spell slots and possibly the cost of the target item, no restriction on what a “container” must be, and no restriction on the triggering condition. As an example: I could fold a piece of paper into a crude cup, cast Glyph of Warding on it, set a password to allow you to move it, place a spell into it like Harm, and make the trigger “attempts to harm me.” You could accumulate these cups of harmful nonsense over time and eventually walk into an encounter and disintegrate the first enemy that attempts to harm you.

    Note that while the spell doesn’t have a section of the spell’s entry detailing specific benefits for heightening the spell, doing so raises the maximum level of the spell you place in the glyph. You could store a 9th-level spell by casting Glyph of Warding at 10th level.

  • HeroismCRB: Always helpful, but very expensive when you first get access to 3rd-level spells. As you gain levels, this can become an easier go-to buff with your lower-level spell slots. Higher-level versions of the spell increase the size of the bonus, which is mathematically very appealing, but the 10-minute duration is likely no more than two encounters, which means that you need to save the higher-level versions for when you know it’s going to matter.
  • LocateCRB: Not useful enough to know permanently in a spell repertoire, but for prepared casters this is a great solution when you need to find plot items or named antagonists.
  • Neutralize PoisonCRB: Poison is common across the level range, and has a nasty habit of still affecting you and your party once an encounter ends. The counteract check means that this isn’t guaranteed, unfortunately, so be prepared to use the Medicine skill, too.
  • Remove DiseaseCRB: Only situationally useful, and diseases typically take hours or days to become a problem, leaving plenty of time to address them with Medicine.
  • Sanctified GroundCRB: Vary situational. It’s basically Circle of Protection, but a larger radius and you can’t move it.
  • Searing lightCRB: Great single-target damage against fiends and undead, but otherwise terrible.
  • Vampiric TouchCRB: Decent damage of a good damage type, and the temporary hit points will help keep you alive after you run into melee to deliver this. This is a great option for gish characters like the Magus, but wizards should be very careful about using this without Reach Spell.
  • Wanderer’s GuideCRB: Intended to improve the pace of overland travel by reducing the penalty for difficult terrain like forests. The precise behavior of the spell is intentionally vague, but overland travel is handled narratively, so it makes sense. You won’t need this every time that you travel, but if you’re deviating from paved roads it can be helpful.
  • Zone of TruthCRB: Helpful for questioning hostile or deceptive creatures, but allowing both a save and Deception checks means that it’s not fool-proof. If you can, combine this with high Perception scores and the Discern Lies spell for extra insurance.

4th-Level Spells

  • Air WalkCRB: In a way, this is budget magical flight, but it has a crucial advantage: The “Fly” action includes the text “If you’re airborne at the end of your turn and didn’t use a Fly action this round, you fall.” This means that flying, magically or otherwise, presents a persistent action tax. Air Walk has no such cost, making it the superior combat option over both natural and magical flight.
  • Anathematic ReprisalCRB: Very situational, and massively dependent on your deity’s Anathema. You could try some abusive stuff to trigger this, of course. For example: an Iomedae worshiper might issue a verbal challenge to an enemy to fight one-on-one, and upon being refused, you might consider that anathema (“refuse a challenge from an equal”), get upset, and respond with Anathematic Reprisal. But the damage of the spell is atrociously low to compensate for this being cast as a Reaction. If you do use this, I don’t recommend learning or preparing it until you’re well pest 4th-level spell slots.
  • Dimensional AnchorCRB: A great counter counter to enemy spellcasters who might teleport to safety. The target does get a save, but even on a Success the spell still works for a full minute. There is still a Counteract check involved, so this isn’t foolproof.
  • Discern LiesCRB: Massively helpful in social situations, but not useful often enough to justify learning it permanently in Spell Repertoire unless your campaign is heavily focused on intrigue and social situations.
  • Divine WrathCRB: Divine Wrath does roughly as much damage as a 3rd-level Fireball, but relying on alignment damage means that it’s likely to not affect your allies and may trigger vulnerabilities from enemies (fiends vulnerable to good damage, etc.). In addition, the Sickened and possible Slow effects make this very appealing when your party is facing a crowd of enemies. The damage scaling will fall behind spells like Fireball, but the status conditions remain helpful. This doesn’t have the Incapacitation trait, so against enemies with poor Fortitude saves it’s a great way to rob them of some Actions if you get lucky and they roll a Critical Failure.
  • Freedom of MovementCRB: Only situationally useful. The duration is long enough that you could pre-cast it before going into an encounter, but you would need to know that you’re facing something that likes to immobilize/grapple/restrain you ahead of time.
  • Globe of InvulnerabilityCRB: At a glance, this is a great defense against enemy spellcasters, allowing you to safely cast spells outward while being protected from spells targeting anyone inside the sphere (you, for the most part). But it’s not portable, so it’s really only useful if you’re comfortable standing still for the rest of the encounter.

    The fact that the the globe is a 10-foot burst (so it’s a sphere 20 feet across) and can’t be broken by things like walls or floors is a surprisingly major problem. It’s nearly impossible to use in close quarters like a dungeon, and if you’re on the ground, only a 10×10 group of squares is close enough to the ground to be considered inside the sphere. The rest of the sphere floats uselessly above you.

  • Holy CascadeCRB: Only situationally useful because it only affects two creature types, but the damage and scaling are both good, and the damage types may trigger vulnerabilities, further improving the damage.
  • Outcast’s CurseCRB: Only situationally useful, but if you want to ruin someone’s life without ending it, I can’t think of a better option.
  • Read OmensCRB (uncommon): Extremely vague. Thematically very cool, but it doesn’t offer the GM any advice on how to handle this, so many GMs will struggle to give you anything useful.
  • Remove CurseCRB: Technically this only situationally useful, but it’s also among the only ways to remove cruses, and curses are often permanent.
  • Spell ImmunityCRB: Affects exactly one spell and still has a chance to fail because it involves a Counteract check. The 24-hour duration is generous, but it’s nearly impossible to guess a single spell which you’ll need to resist this way.
  • Talking CorpseCRB: Incredibly useful in a game where enemies with crucial information will often greet you with lethal force. Unfortunately, if the target creature would not have wanted to help you in life, they can choose to make the experience extremely frustrating. You get any number of questions you want within the 10 minute span, but unless the creature rolls a Critical Failure, they could blather for 10 minutes to stall you until the spell ends.
  • Vital BeaconCRB: It’s easy to look at this and say “for the same spell slot, Heal would be more efficient for healing my party,” but that’s not the intended use case. Vital Beacon lasts until your next daily preparations, so you’re pre-casting a healing resource which you party can use 4 times throughout the day. Unfortunately, the only time you would want to use this is during combat, and this simply isn’t enough healing to justify the action cost unless it saves a drying creature, which isn’t possible because the creature being healed needs to spend the action to “supplicate.”

5th-Level Spells

  • Abyssal PlagueCRB: Drained 1 on a failure, Drained 2 on a critical failure. Drained reduces the target’s hp by 1 per level, which is about the same as doing 1 point of damage per level. Even if you use this on a level 20 enemy and they roll a Failure, that’s the equivalent of 20 damage, which simply isn’t enough for a spell of this level, and it’s a disease so the 1-day interval is not going to help you except in extremely unusual cases.
  • BanishmentCRB: Save-or-suck for anything from a different plane of existence. Simple, effective, and if you’re prepared for the specific creature(s) you can impose a penalty on the save. Unfortunately Banishment has the Incapacitation Trait, so it’s hard to use against powerful foes, and if the target rolls a Critical Success you’ll be Stunned 1 so you only want to use this when you can be reasonably certain that the target will fail their saving throw.
  • Breath of LifeCRB: Too essential to not have. Note that this isn’t perfect protection. Death effects and Disintegrate explicitly can’t be stopped, and Breath of Life doesn’t remove the conditions which caused the creature to die. For example: if the creature is Doomed enough to kill them outright.
  • Death WardCRB: Only situationally useful, but a very powerful defense against undead enemies and necromancy-using spellcasters.
  • Drop DeadCRB: A great way to get out of a bad situation. If someone in your party is in rough shape, it may be best to turn them invisible and have them retreat to safety rather than letting them fall to 0 and play hit point ping pong for the rest of the encounter.
  • Flame StrikeCRB: The Cleric’s conceptual answer to Fireball. The damage is fine, but not as good as a Fireball of the same level. The benefit over Fireball is that it partially ignores resistance and immunity. But with the diversity of damage options available, especially with better areas of effect, Flame Strike struggles to find a niche where it’s useful.
  • Prying EyeCRB: An exceptionally powerful scouting option, Prying Eye allows you to scout dangerous areas from a safe distance, and the eye’s small size can often slip it through obstacles by sneaking under doors or through cracked windows. The duration doesn’t expire until you fail to Sustain the spell, so given enough time you can send the eye great distances and scout huge areas. The biggest limitation is that the eye uses your normal senses, so be sure that you have Low-Light Vision and/or Darkvision so that you can send the eye into dark places and still see.
  • SendingCRB: Only situationally useful, and extremely expensive for how limited the function is. Teleport is one spell level higher and you can go have a full conversation.
  • Shadow BlastCRB: An easy go-to area damage option due to its extremely versatile combination of variable damage type and variable area of effect, but it comes at the cost of dealing low damage for a spell of this level. You can hopefully make up the difference by affecting more targets or by triggering vulnerabilities.
  • Spiritual GuardianCRB: Because this functions very similarly to Spiritual Weapon, it’s natural to compare the two spells. It’s not a perfect comparison, but it’s a good starting point. Both spells have the same range, can be Sustained the same way to attack and retarget the spell, and attack the same way. Spiritual Guardian’s damage is delayed by one spell level compared to Spiritual Weapon, so a Spiritual Guardian always does as much damage as a Spiritual Weapon of one spell level lower.

    The core question is whether or not Spiritual Guardian’s other benefits are worth that additional spell level. If used purely offensively, you can use Spiritual Guardian to help allies flank, which is a huge boon for your melee allies, especially for characters like rogues who depend on targets being Flat-Footed. In a fight where you can repeatedly enable allies to flank, that’s a huge benefit.

    You can also use the guardian defensively by assigning to protect an ally. This takes an Action to Sustain the Spell initially, but it appears that the guardian will continue to guard your ally until you tell it to do something else. Preventing up to 40 damage could easily save your allies life in a tough fight, and not needing to spend an Action to Sustain the Spell in order to attack every round leaves that action free for other things on turns where you might need to do things like cast 3-Action spells.

    I do think this is an improvement over Spiritual Weapon, but only if your party will benefit from the additional functionality. If your party is already able to flank reliably without the additional help, Spiritual Weapon will suffice in most cases.

  • Summon CelestialCRB: Many of the summonable options are also spellcasters, allowing you to summon a large pool of additional spellcasting at the cost of a single spell slot.
  • Summon FiendCRB: Many of the summonable options are also spellcasters, allowing you to summon a large pool of additional spellcasting at the cost of a single spell slot.
  • TonguesCRB: A staple option for overcoming language barriers, but at such high level this is an expensive way to solve the problem. Of course, it’s likely less expensive than spending several feats on Multilingual.

6th-Level Spells

  • Blade BarrierCRB: Good area control, good damage of a good type, and a good duration without needing to Sustain the spell. The 3-Acton casting time is hard, but if you can get this in place it can quickly define the outcome of a fight. If your party has the ability to push enemies into the wall repeatedly, abusing the wall quickly becomes the defining tactical feature of an encounter.
  • Field of LifeCRB: Outside of combat, this is more efficient healing than casting Heal, but I would absolutely never cast this mid-combat. The automatic damage to undead is neat, but unless you’re facing a literal army of low-level zombies which are climbing over each other’s falling bodies to get into melee with you every round, casting 3-Action Heal will always be a better idea.
  • Raise DeadCRB: A spell you hope to never need. Raise Dead is expensive, and the cost grows exponentially as your target’s level increases. The target cannot have died more than 3 days prior, which is a narrow window. Plan to use Gentle Repose to keep the corpse “fresh” for later raising if you’re not in a situation where you can do so immediately.
  • RepulsionCRB: A great way to keep enemies away from you and your other squishy allies, especially since many creatures are wholly unable to fight at range.
  • Righteous MightCRB: Turn into an outright better Warpriest than the best Warpriest for a full minute. Let’s look at the math: At level 11 when you get access to this spell, a Warpriest Cleric or Battle Mystery Oracle will be Expert at best in their weapon. With +15 proficiency, a +2 Greater Striking Weapon (which is a level 12 item, but bear with me), and 18 Strength, you match the +21 attack bonus. Clerics don’t get Weapon Specialization until level 14, and even then it’s a +3 bonus, which with 18 Strength still won’t match Righteous Might’s +8 damage bonus for melee weapons. Righteous Might also adds the Holy property, which means that all told it’s a 3,400gp weapon you’re swinging. A level 11 character is expected to have 3,200 gp according to the character wealth table (CRB 511), so that’s basically impossible.

    I’m using Warpriest as a punching bag, which is unfair. Battle Mystery Oracles suffer from the exact same problem.

    But beating up on weak subclass options doesn’t tell us if the spell is actually good. The weapon attacks are pretty good, as I explained above, but won’t quite match a character like a Champion or a Fighter because they’ll have better ability scores, weapon proficiency, and damage bonuses, but it gets you close without any of the investment. 20+Level AC is the equivalent of being Trained and wearing +2 Full Plate, which is where a warpriest sits at this level (they don’t hit Expert until level 13). Again: it won’t match a full martial class, but it’s still pretty good. You still need upgraded armor for the save bonuses and property runes, of course, but that’s baked into the game’s math anyway. The temporary hp and physical damage resistance will close the gap in max hp compared to martial classes and outdo Armor Specialization Effects, so you’re reasonably durable provided that your Constitution is good.

    Taken as a whole: This does not make you as good as a martial character, but it does make you better than the best Warpriest of roughly the same level for one minute at a time, which is long enough to get through a fight on a single spell rather than burning through limited spell slots.

  • SpellwrackCRB: If you can get this set up on a powerful enemy early in a fight, the damage can add up quite a bit. But it takes 4 instances of the persistent damage to match the damage of casting Chain Lightning, so the fight needs to be long for this useful in combat. The best-case scenario is to get this on an enemy outside of combat and leave it in place for later, but at that point why not just kill them and be done with it?
  • Spirit BlastCRB: Good, straightforward, single-target damage. It’s interesting that this can target astrally projected creatures and creatures possessing other creatures, but that rarely comes up in most games.
  • Stone TellCRB: Potentially very powerful, but hugely dependent on your GM since what the stone understands and what it could tell you are so vaguely defined. You might be able to get detailed information like “there are three humanoids inside this stone house” or you might get “there are lots of things touching my floor right now”.
  • Stone to FleshCRB: Forget passwall, forget disintegrate, forget pickaxes. Turn problematic stone (a wall, a door, a support column, etc.) into flesh and either watch the structure collapse or chop your way through whatever obstacle you’re facing. This is a tradition dating back at least as far as the original Tomb of Horrors at the first Origins convention in 1975. Oh, and you can rescue petrified creatures, which happens sometimes.
  • True SeeingCRB: Only situationally useful, and the fact that you could fail the secret Counteract check means that creatures could still make themselves invisible and go undetected even while you’re running True Seeing.
  • Vampiric ExsanguinationCRB: Good damage of a good type in a reasonably large are of effect, plus you get temporary hit points, but the range on the cone is short so frail characters like sorcerers and wizards should be cautious unless you’re also using Reach Spell.
  • Zealous ConvictionCRB: This is a weird buff that also lets you take over your friends’ characters, which is generally considered a rude, borderline offensive choice. If you do cast this spell, tell your allies to “act as they would normally” and never anything else unless something weird happens, like they get mind controlled. The temporary hp won’t last long at this level, and while the Will save bonus is excellent, I only recommend using this if you know for certain that you’re facing enemies which target Will saves.

7th-Level Spells

  • Dimensional LockCRB: Only situationally useful. You can use this offensively to try to keep enemies from teleporting to escape and/or you can use this to prevent enemies from teleporting into whatever space you’re resting in.
  • Divine DecreeCRB: Very similar in concept to Divine Wrath. What makes Divine Decree interesting is its massive AOE and its Critical Failure effect. Use this in encounters with large numbers of low-level foes to quickly clear the field.
  • Divine VesselCRB: This is a good combat buff for divine martial characters like the Warpriest Cleric, but it does require that you already be equipped and trained to fight with weapons for it to be useful. If you are, it’s a better buff than Righteous Might.
  • Eclipse BurstCRB: Good range, massive AOE, good damage, and on a critical failure creatures are permanently blinded.
  • Energy AegisCRB: 5 points of resistance to 8 damage types, including options like Force Damage which are difficult to resist, and a 24-hour duration. It’s hard to spend such a high-level spell slot on something like this, but with a 24-hour duration you can cast it before going to sleep, get a full night’s sleep, then wake up with 16 hours left on the spell’s duration. If you don’t need to adventure on back-to-back days, you should strongly consider this as part of your daily routine.
  • Ethereal JauntCRB: Excellent for both infiltration and escape.
  • Finger of DeathCRB: Excellent single-target damage with excellent scaling. Most creatures are functionally dead when a player reduces them to 0 hp, so the instant death effect doesn’t matter very much for players’ purposes.
  • Plane Shift (Uncommon): A staple travel option at high levels.
  • RegenerateCRB: A good buff for your party’s Defender in a fight where they’re taking a lot of damage or where persistent bleed is a problem. Creatures which fall to 0 then get back up because of this spell still gain the Wounded condition, so after being knocked out several times your target can still be stuck unconscious.
  • SunburstCRB: The damage is poor unless you’re hitting undead, but against crowds of lower-level enemies who have a decent chance to critically fail, permanently blinding multiple enemies makes a fight much easier. With a 60-foot radius, you should be able to hit every enemy in most encounters, but you will need to be careful about friendly fire.

8th-Level Spells

  • Antimagic Field (rare): Difficult to use to great effect with any frequency. If you’re expecting to fight a lot of enemy spellcasters this might be useful.
  • Discern Location (uncommon): Only situationally useful.
  • Divine AuraCRB: An excellent defensive buff, and the growing AOE will allow your allies to gradually spread out as you Sustain the spell.
  • Divine InspirationCRB: Trading an 8th-level spell slot for a 6th-level spell slot feels like a terrible trade, and in a lot cases, it is. But there’s nuance here. If your target (maybe yourself) is a prepared caster, your party might need a lower-level spell which the target only prepared once today. This allows you to cast that spell again without resting for the night. You can also use this to recharge the target’s Focus Pool without spending 10 minutes refocusing, which might be very powerful if you or one of your allies has excellent Focus Spells.
  • Moment of RenewalCRB: A great way to remove conditions like Drained, Doomed, and Fatigued. Restoration can often do the job at a much lower spell level, but it only affects a single condition per casting.
  • Spiritual EpidemicCRB: A great way to discourage enemies from targeting a creature with spells like Heal or Remove Curse, but you’ll rarely face enemies who will be impacted by the ongoing and spreading effect.

9th-Level Spells

  • Bind SoulCRB (uncommon): When you absolutely, positively cannot stand for the BBEG to come back from the dead. Carrying the gem might be totally safe unless your target had allies who might come looking for it.
  • CrusadeCRB (uncommon): This doesn’t allow a save for creatures of 14th level or lower, so if you’re facing a bunch of lower-level enemies you might be able to say “We’re going on a crusade to kill your boss” and the targets are not only obligated to help you, they’re enthusiastic about doing so for the spell’s 10-minute duration (or until it expires under the other conditions specified in the spell). The use case is likely an uncommon situation, so this is only situationally useful. If you get to the end of the day and still have this prepared and unused, use it to send four NPC hirelings on a crusade to set up camp for the night.
  • ForesightCRB: An excellent defensive buff with a great duration so you can cast it well ahead of time.
  • MassacreCRB: This is a gamble. The expected outcome is 100 negative damage, which is a big pile of damage. Lines are a difficult AOE so expect to hit no more than two creatures, and you generally want to kill something with the initial damage rather than suffering 30 damage if you don’t, but maybe you’ll get lucky and the 30 damage will kill an enemy or two, in which case I would happily take the 30 damage rather than letting those creatures get another turn. The possibility that you can outright kill creatures on a Critical Failure is very tempting, but unless you’re hitting a bunch of creatures somehow I don’t recommend making that gamble.

    Because the level cap is so high, you can safely use this even with your allies in the line. However, if you fail to kill something, you and your allies are still going to take the flat 30 negative damage.

  • Overwhelming PresenceCRB: Rob every enemy in the area of several Actions over the next several turns. You can choose for the Action to pay tribute to have either the Manipulate or Move trait, and both of those provoke Reactions, so if you have allies with Reactions like Attack of Opportunity you can both rob enemies of Actions and give your allies free Strikes. The AOE is reasonably large and you get to pick targets, so you can omit your allies. The Success effect still forces targets to pay tribute twice (likely once on each of their next two turns), and the Critical Failure effect forces targets to spend all of their actions paying tribute until they do it 6 times in total, so if you can Slow or Stun them you can stretch out the number of turns that they spend doing nothing threatening. Not on the Arcane spell list.
  • Telepathic DemandCRB: Very difficult to use with any frequency. It’s rare to have an enemy with which you’ve connected telepathically before that you haven’t already killed.
  • Wail of the BansheeCRB: Full damage on a Success, but the 8d10 damage isn’t impressive at this level. What you want is the Drained condition applied on a Failure, which is equivalent to a big pile of additional damage and penalties to Fortitude saves.
  • Weapon of JudgementCRB: A good option against large single foes. This will feel conceptually similar to Spiritual Weapon, but the similarities are almost entirely cosmetic. Weapon of Judgement is a “set it and forget it” sort of spell, and it works best if you get it up on turn 1.

    The “war” option encourages the target to attack another creature you select and punishes them if they do not do so. You could select another enemy as the second target, then the first target must choose between suffering a punitive attack or attacking one of their allies. If no second enemy exists, select a creature like a familiar or a fleeing rat and do everything in your power to prevent your enemy from attacking them so that you get as many Weapon of Judgement attacks as possible.

    The “peace” option is more straightforward: the target suffers a punitive attack every time it takes a hostile action against one or more of the 5 creatures you specify when you cast the spell. If you select your party as the 5 creatures, you can inflict a punitive attack every time your enemy does something hostile. Against enemies that rely on Strikes, that might be several times per round. The Weapon of Judgement suffers Multiple Attack Penalty in this case, which is a specific exception included in the effects of the spell (MAP normally only applies on your own turn). Of course, MAP still refreshes every turn, so you could willingly provoke Reactions to get another Weapon of Judgement on another creature’s turn without the MAP accumulated during your enemy’s turn.

10th-Level Spells

  • AvatarCRB: Righteous Might’s cooler, older sibling. Your attack bonus matches an 18 ability score, a +3 weapon, and master proficiency at 20th level. The granted attacks do 6 dice worth of damage, which manufactured weapons can’t match even with a Rune of Greater Striking. 25+Level AC takes +3 full plate and Master proficiency to match. 30 temporary hp adds even more durability. You’re effectively matching a 20th-level martial character, if only numerically. The 1-minute duration is enough to get through one fight.

    Each deity has a specific avatar form that does impact how useful the spell is, each providing unique attacks and movement options, so your deity’s avatar might not fit your exact needs at any given moment.

  • Gate (uncommon): Only situationally useful. Usually Plane Shift is sufficient, especially if you can follow it with Teleport to get closer to your intended destination.
  • MiracleCRB: Wish, but divine instead of Arcane. The ability to cast spells from any spell list is excellent.
  • Remake (uncommon): Only situationally useful. This feels like it should be a ritual.
  • RevivalCRB: Only situationally useful, and the situation is “we have made a series of errors and multiple people are now dead”. Instead of preparing to be in that situation, try to avoid the situation. This might be worth a scroll, but preparing it will turn your 10th-level spell slot or spell known into a permanent tax on your resources.