The only cleric in the party died in last week’s Sunday Game session and the player decided to roll up a new character rather than have the party go into debt (or accept a quest from an NPC who really does not like one of the characters in the party) to get him raised. With a wisdom of 8, his new character isn’t a cleric.
This is good in a way as it gives me a chance to try a new idea for clerics with an NPC. I’ve had a problem with clerics for some time. They seem more like a fighter/magic-user with a smaller selection of spells than a priest for a relatively low XP cost — less than fighters. I’ve tried a number of options for clerics over the years, including eliminating them and folding their spells into the magic-user class as I did in Microlite74 Swords & Sorcery. However, that really will not work for any of my standard campaign worlds as clerics play important roles in my version of the Judges Guild Wilderlands, the Hidden Valley, and Arn. Therefore eliminating the Cleric is no more an option for my games than reducing the duration of the Sleep spell to 1 minute is an option.
After thinking about this for some time, I decided to try the following modified Cleric class. It’s sort of a combination of the Friar from Fantastic Heroes & Witchery and some ideas I had for a cleric class with free-form divine miracles back in the 1980s. This version has the advantage of having a list of basic prayers so that everything does not have to be free-form while retaining the free-form prayers for more powerful effects.
Perhaps the most interesting part of this class is “Piety”. Piety is earned by spending days in a temple serving the needs of the God and/or his worshipers. This not only makes the cleric seem more like a religious figure, but it gives yet another reason for downtime between adventurers. If I end up going with this class more or less as is, Magic-Users will probably end up with some Piety-like number than they recharge by spending days studying musty old books, although I do not yet have any great ideas as to how to work that into the class.
The other immediately noticeable change with this draft version of the Cleric class is the XP (at 2500) is between that of the fighter (XP 2000) and the Magic-User (XP 3000).
The material in the following quoted section is Open Game Content under the OGL.Note that this is a very early draft and will likely change (perhaps completely if it does not work out in playtest). It has not been proofread and the blogger converted the table from its Word source in an odd-looking way that I’m too lazy to try to fix given the info in the table is accurate.
Comments on this early draft are welcome. Heck, other ideas are welcome as I’m certainly not married to this idea (at least not yet).
The ClericClerics are armored priests who serve a particular alignment, religion, or patron deity. Players may make up the details if the Referee doesn’t use a particular mythology for the campaign. Mythologies and other details of a campaign world often come later if the Referee is just starting.Regardless of the details, the Cleric is a champion of his faith and/or moral alignment. The character might be a sinister witch-hunter, an exorcist of demons, a shining knight of the faith, or a secret agent of some temple hierarchy. Since many of the Cleric’s abilities are oriented toward healing and protecting, they tend to play a support role during combat. However, they are able to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the party’s Fighters if need be—at least for a while. Clerics must be either Lawful (good) or Chaotic (evil). There are no Neutral Clerics unless the Referee decides otherwise. Chaos, Law, and Neutrality are described further on.
Cleric Advancement Table
Exp. Points Hit Dice Combat Bonus Saving Throw 1 0 1d8 +1 15 2 2,500 2d8 +1 14 3 5,000 3d8 +1 13 4 10,000 4d8 +1 12 5 20,000 5d8 +1 11 6 40,000 6d8 +2 10 7 80,000 7d8 +2 9 8 160,000 8d8 +2 8 9 320,000 9d8 +2 7 10 640,000 10d8 +2 6 11 1,280,000 11d8 +3 5 12 2,560,000 12d8 +3 5 13 5,120,000 13d8 +3 5 14 10,240,000 14d8 +3 4 15 20,480,000 15d8 +3 4 16 40,960,000 16d8 +3 4
Cleric Class AbilitiesWeapon and Armor Restrictions: Because Clerics are forbidden the shedding of blood, they may only use blunt weapons (club, flail, mace, etc.) and the only missile weapon they are allowed is oil. Clerics have no armor restrictions.Prayers: Clerics may pray to gain divine help. This is considered a full round action, the player must roll 1d6 + Wis modifier. Any roll over a 1 succeeds, but each subsequent prayer during the same day, adds a cumulative +1 penalty to the DC. For example, if a Cleric is praying for the third time that day, the player must roll over a 3 in order to continue receiving aid. A failure indicates that the prayer is unanswered, that no more aid will be granted for 1d6 hours (GM rolls in secret), and reduces the Cleric’s Piety by 1. At GM’s discretion, praying for unjust causes or creatures will incur a penalty to the roll (maximum: –4), but praying for a just and urgent cause may grant a bonus to the roll (maximum: +4). If a Cleric’s Piety is negative, the Cleric’s Piety also reduces the roll. Other than that, prayer rolls use a d6 at 1st and 2nd level, then a d8 at 3rd and 4th level, a d12 at 5th and 6th level, 2d8 at 7th and 8th level, 2d12 at 9th level and above. The various prayers at the Clerics’ disposal (chosen as they need them) are:Blessing: Beneficiary is granted a +4 bonus for a single particular task (one die roll), or the next saving throw against a particular threat or creature, within one day.Counter Prayer: Cancels sound-associated magical effects (e.g. harpy songs) within 30 feet, so long as the Cleric loudly prays.Dispel Charm: Dispels a mind-affecting spell or effect if the Cleric rolls 1d20 + level vs. 10 + caster’s level (or creature’s HD).Encouragement: All allies within 30 feet get a +1 bonus to attack rolls and saving throws vs. fear for a duration of 1 round per Cleric level. At 9th level, the bonus increases to +2.Exorcism: Expels a malignant spirit from an unwilling host (use a Turn Undead roll, but after 30 minutes of loud prayers).Guidance: Answers a question with a short vision, a few words, a coincidental sign, etc.Healing Touch: Cures 1 BP/2 levels (round up), or grants a new save (+ Cleric’s level) to cure a disease or neutralize poison.Sanctuary: No creature can attack the Cleric so long as he prays silently during that combat. Common creatures get no save, but supernatural foes get a Charisma save.Turn Undead: Repels or even utterly destroys undead and sometimes demonic creatures (see Turn Undead ability p.95).The above prayers are standard. The GM is free to alter them for specific religions in the campaign.Minor Divine Aid: Clerics can call upon their deity to bring them opportunities and second chances in times of need (and generally in hopeless situations). This help may not kill or even injure a foe, nor involve directly magical or impossible things. It does no more than even the odds or aid in bypassing an obstacle; it does not make the Clerics more powerful, but help them face foes at full strength. For example, if the Cleric is lost in the wilderness and grievously wounded, he may find a benevolent hermit willing to help him; or if the Cleric is pursued by a troll, he could stumble onto a narrow cavern in which to take refuge, and so on. Each request for minor divine aid costs the character 1 point of Piety if answered by the deity. Roll 3 or higher on 1d6 for the deity to grant divine aid. Subtract 1 from the roll for every request for minor divine aid (whether answered or not) the Cleric has previously made that day. At GM’s discretion, praying for unjust causes or creatures will incur a penalty to the roll (maximum: –4), but praying for a just and urgent cause may grant a bonus to the roll (maximum: +4). Before rolling, Clerics may spend additional Piety to increase the chance that their deity will grant aid; each point of Piety so spend adds +2 to the roll. A cleric must have at least 1 point of Piety to request Minor Divine Aid.Divine Intervention: Clerics can call their deity for direct intervention. This intervention could take many forms as supplicated by the Cleric depending on the circumstances. For example, the Cleric could request someone being entirely cured of all ailments and damage instantaneously, or even being brought back to life; implore that a celestial warrior is sent to assist in a desperate battle against the forces of darkness; etc. In any case, the Cleric is not assured to get any help, which entirely depends on the deity’s willingness as determined by a die roll. The Cleric must roll (21-level) or over on a D20 for success. At GM’s discretion, praying for unjust causes or creatures will incur a penalty to the roll (maximum: –4), but praying for a just and urgent cause may grant a bonus to the roll (maximum: +4). Clerics may spend additional Piety to increase the chance that their deity will grant aid; each point of Piety so spend adds +2 to the roll. A cleric must have at least 1 point of Piety to request Minor Divine Aid. If Divine Intervention is successful, the Cleric loses an additional 2d4 points of Piety.Saving Throw: Clerics receive a +2 bonus on saving throws vs. poison and paralysis (unless the alternative “Saving Throw Matrix” is used).Establish Temple: At tenth level, a Cleric who chooses to build and dedicate a temple to a deity may attract a body of loyal followers who swear fealty to the character. If the Cleric changes alignment after establishing a Temple, the character will lose any followers (and probably face a mutiny).Experience Bonus for Wisdom: Wisdom is the Prime Attribute for Clerics. Clerics with Wisdom of 15 or higher receive a 10% to experience, 5% as normal, and 5% because it is the Prime Attribute for the class.Piety: Clerics earn Piety by spending time performing clerical duties (usually in a temple to the deity). If a cleric’s current Piety is zero or greater, each full day devoted totally to performing these duties earns one point of Piety. If a cleric’s current Piety is less than zero, it takes 1d6+1 days devoted totally to performing these duties to earn one point of Piety. The maximum Piety a Cleric can have is equal to five plus the sum of his levels (e.g. a 4th level cleric could have no more than 15 Piety (5 + [1+2+3+4]) while a 10th level cleric could have 60 Piety stored up (5 + [1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8+9+10]), etc.). Gods tend to remember things done for them longer the higher the level of the cleric.