Friday, April 17, 2015

Clerics

Anthony the Great (Armenian icon, 16th century)

Prime Requisite:           wisdom
Hit Dice:                      1d6 per level
Attack Bonus:              +1 per 2 levels
Spell Points:                 3 per level
Armor Proficiency:      none
Weapon Proficiency:   club, dagger, mace, staff
Powers:                        cast cleric spells; spirit ward

Cleric Experience Level Table

XP Level
HD
AB
SP
Max. Spell Level
1
1d6
0
3
1
2
2d6
+1
6
1
3
3d6
+1
9
2
4
4d6
+2
12
2
5
5d6
+2
15
3
6
6d6
+3
18
3
7
7d6
+3
21
4
8
8d6
+4
24
4
9
9d6
+4
27
5

Cleric Description

A cleric is a devoted follower of a god or spirit. Some clerics are hermits or wanderers, but most are leaders of religious communities.

The type of divine being served by a cleric depends on his alignment. Lawful clerics are monotheists who worship God, the saints, or angels. Neutral clerics are pagans who worship one or more elemental or faerie lords. Chaotic clerics are cultists who worship demon lords or chaos gods.

In addition to a general religious affiliation, every cleric has a particular divine patron of his player’s choosing.

Cleric Powers

Cast Cleric Spells

A cleric can learn to cast any spell from the cleric spell list. The maximum level of spell a cleric can learn is equal to his experience level divided by two (rounded up). A cleric is required to learn spells individually, either by reading a book or scroll, or by being taught by another cleric who already knows the spell.

In order to learn a new spell, a cleric must spend one week in prayer and study per level of the spell, and he must make a successful wisdom roll at the end of the time spent. Failure means that the cleric must spend one more week in prayer and study before being allowed to make another wisdom roll.

A cleric receives 3 spell points per experience level. A cleric’s maximum spell point score is modified by his wisdom bonus.

Spirit Ward

A cleric can attempt to ward off designated spirits within a 12” radius.

To determine the success of an attempted spirit ward, consult the following table, and cross-index the cleric’s experience level with the spirit’s monster level.

Spirit Ward Table


Cleric Level
Spirit Level
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
1
7
W
W
D
D
D
D
D
D
2
9
7
W
W
D
D
D
D
D
3
11
9
7
W
W
D
D
D
D
4
-
11
9
7
W
W
D
D
D
5
-
-
11
9
7
W
W
D
D
6
-
-
-
11
9
7
W
W
D
7
-
-
-
-
11
9
7
W
W
8
-
-
-
-
-
11
9
7
W
9
-
-
-
-
-
-
11
9
7

A number indicates the minimum result on a 2d6 roll which the cleric needs to successfully ward off the spirits. This Spirit Ward roll is modified by the cleric’s wisdom bonus. If spirits of more than one monster level are designated by the cleric as targets, the same roll is used to determine the success of the ward against the various types of spirits.

A result of “W” indicates that the spirit is automatically warded.

A result of “D” indicates that the spirit is automatically dispelled to its world of origin.

Up to 2d6 spirits are affected by a single spirit ward. If multiple types of spirits are designated by the cleric, spirits with lower monster levels are counted as affected before spirits with higher monster levels.

A warded spirit is unable to attack, cast spells, or use powers which directly affect the cleric or his designated allies within the area of effect. A warded spirit is not forced to flee. A spirit ward lasts up to 2d6 turns.

A dispelled spirit is unable to return to the cleric’s world unless it is magically summoned by another character or creature.

Designer's Notes

The D&D cleric has always been something of an odd duck, as Delta has discussed in his numerous and trenchant critiques of the class. For Into the Dark, I have changed the cleric class to be a better fit with medieval Christian clergymen, and with legends and folklore about priests and holy men.

1. Clerics are not assumed to have training in combat. They are proficient in simple weapons, and have no armor proficiency. They have the same attack bonus as magic-users.

2. To represent cleric characters who do have military training, a player can use the Templar training package (to be discussed in a future post). Templars are proficient in all weapons and armor (like the medieval crusading orders), and are not restricted to bludgeoning weapons (which reflects neither history nor legend).

3. Cleric spellcasting has been changed to more closely match that of magic-users. Clerics must learn spells individually, either from texts or from other clerics.

Cleric spells can be conceived as religious rituals, such as the kind found in liturgical manuals or manuals of exorcism. Not all religious rituals are intended to perform supernatural effects, but many are, such as blessings, exorcisms, and some purification rituals.

Conceiving cleric spells as rituals does ignore another kind of supernatural powers traditionally associated with priests, which is the ability to perform miracles. Miracles are not always (and not usually) associated with the performance of particular rituals; in general, they seem more spontaneous, and do not typically follow a predetermined script.

However, for game purposes, it seems fine to group miracle working together with the subset of cleric rituals that produce magical effects, and to call both of these "cleric spells," even though this does elide an important distinction, and involves a nonstandard use of the word 'spell'.

4. The Turn Undead ability has been changed to Spirit Ward. Most traditional religions do in fact regard priests as having the power to control spirits. For example, in Buddhism, certain texts from the Pali Canon (such as the Atanatiya Sutta) are traditionally recited by monks to provide protection from spirits. The Turn Undead ability is too narrow to reflect this belief, since it only grants clerics power over spirits of the dead, but the ability is easily expanded to cover other kinds of spirits.

In addition to expanding the ability to cover all spirits, Spirit Ward has been restricted so that it does not force spirits to flee, but rather prevents them from harming or otherwise affecting the cleric and his associates. This seems to match the legends and traditional beliefs, and also apparently resembles the original interpretation of the Turn Undead rule itself.