This article is primarily or only relevant to Pathfinder First Edition.

Types of magic

From PathfinderWiki
See also: Magical tradition

Classical scholars of magic theory categorized magic through three types of magic that manifested in the form of spells and spell-like effects: arcane, divine, and psychic magic. These types are not exclusive; spellcasters who combine arcane and divine magic, for example, are known as theurges. One such example is a mystic theurge.1

This system also designated a fourth type of magic, occult rituals, that is generally practiced only out of desperation, illness, or external influence because it is hard to control and almost always has a significant drawback.2

In contrast, magic is contemporarily classified through four magical traditions: arcane, divine, occult, and primal.3

Arcane magic

Arcane spells are known to create more dramatic and destructive effects than divine spells.45 Unlike divine magic, many arcane spells require physical components, almost always in the form of either a reusable focus or consumable material component.6

Arcanists, bards, bloodragers, magi, skalds, sorcerers, summoners, witches, and wizards can all cast arcane spells, as can others who study the arts of spellcraft or have an innate talent for spellcasting.

Arcane magic is subject to the Laws of Arcana.7

Divine magic

Divine magic is derived from or granted by deities or other divine entities.8

Divine spellcasters include clerics, druids, inquisitors, oracles, shamans, warpriests, and experienced paladins and rangers.

Divine casters sometimes refer to their spells as prayers.9

Psychic magic

Psychic magic manifests from emotional and mental energies inherent in souls and auras.10

Psychic spellcasters include mediums, mesmerists, occultists, psychics, and spiritualists.

Occult rituals

Unlike the other three forms of magic, occult rituals can be practiced by people untrained in magic and by those who lack innate power. It is feared by most traditional spellcasters, as it is hard to control, can grant tremendous power, and can unleash horrors upon the world.2


  1. Jason Bulmahn, et al. “Chapter 3: Feats” in Ultimate Magic, 157. Paizo Inc., 2011
  2. 2.0 2.1 Jason Bulmahn, et al. “Chapter 5: Occult Rules” in Occult Adventures, 208–215. Paizo Inc., 2015
  3. Logan Bonner, et al. “Glossary and Index” in Core Rulebook, 633. Paizo Inc., 2019
  4. Jason Bulmahn, et al. “Magic” in Core Rulebook, 218. Paizo Inc., 2009
  5. Jason Bulmahn, et al. “Magic” in Core Rulebook, 220. Paizo Inc., 2009
  6. Jason Bulmahn, et al. “Magic” in Core Rulebook, 213. Paizo Inc., 2009
  7. Dave Gross. King of Chaos, 169. Paizo Inc., 2013
  8. Sean K Reynolds, et al. Inner Sea Gods, 4–6. Paizo Inc., 2014
  9. Liane Merciel. Nightblade, 146. Paizo Inc., 2014
  10. Jason Bulmahn, et al. “Chapter 4: Psychic Magic” in Occult Adventures, 142. Paizo Inc., 2015