Acolytes and Scrolls

Just ran into an issue that I don’t believe has ever come up in one of my Classic D&D games before: a 1st-level cleric came into possession of a clerical scroll with two spells. Can 1st-level clerics cast the spells on scrolls?

There is no question in AD&D, of course, since 1st-level clerics in in AD&D can cast spells. But clerics in Classic D&D (B/X in this case) cannot cast spells until 2nd level. I happen to like this rule immensely, but now I am wondering about this acolyte and his scroll.

I decided that–unless I found a compelling case saying otherwise–the cleric COULD read the holy words and tap into the holy powers that they trigger. It just seems to make sense to me and 1st-level characters are squishy enough already.

Lo and behold, I found this question asked on a Dragonsfoot thread from 2014 and it’s even specifically asking about B/X. Even more surprising, the strong majority opinion was that, yes, 1st-level clerics can use clerical spell scrolls. I feel slightly validated.

I’m definitely inclined to allow it. Especially since I have scaled back turning the undead a bit. Even though I tend to see clerics more as mystic warriors than priestly medics, their ability to access the divine power or the Light (or the Darkness) is a fundamental component of the class.

So let it be written, so let it be done. Unless someone convinces me otherwise.

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