Friday, March 16, 2012

We've All Become God's Madmen

Art by Patrick Jones
[This view of clerics follows from my post "Apocalypse Underground"]

The clerics aren't priests. Before the underground was discovered, Man had priests--and gods whose intercession they sought. Their prayers had been in vain. The old gods had abandoned Man to the monsters.

Then the clerics came. Their gods were unyielding of personifications of law. They marked their chosen with fits, visions, and miracles of faith. Their precepts were few: Destroy chaos and evil, protect the innocent.

The monsters are (in the view of the clerics) chaos and evil manifest. The clerics wage a savage holy war against the denizens of the underground and are willing to martyr themselves in the service of their gods.

The clerics sometimes use titles of the old priestly hierarchy, but all clerical groups are cults founded around a charismatic leader who is considered strong in the faith due to the spiritual power he or she wields.

15 comments:

Tim Shorts said...

Cleansed in the fire of my wrath. Great picture. Love the double hammer wielding cleric. And that tome looks like it could do a die of damage if needed.

Alexander Osias said...

Kill 'em all, and let God sort 'em out!

Beedo said...

I like the emergent nature of the class here. To borrow an old idea, you could have ancient texts harcken back to a time when clerics also existed previously. It's a great setting idea - might we see a similar treatment for arcane magic?

The Angry Lurker said...

Armed and armoured priests, gods hammer....

Harald said...

Is this in any way connected to the urban crawl idea you tossed out earlier? If so, talk about bleak setting, with a balkanized, war torn urban sprawl topside, and monster-infested labyrinthine underground beneath. Oh joy.

Trey said...

@Beedo - I think that's a good idea about the re-emergent clerics. Yeah, I'll probably do something with arcane magic coming up!

@Harald - Yeah, it's thematically connected, certainly (following as it did the "Apocalypse Underground" post) but I wrote it a little more generically for wider applicability.

Harald said...

"When mankind discovered magic, everything changed. Or maybe it didn't. You see, we've always been very good at killing each other, but in the wars that swept the world, terrible powers were unleashed. Whole countries vanished and oceans boiled as the fabric of reality was ripped apart by magic and terrible weapons.

A lot of us went underground to escape the destruction. You see, we're not that different from animals - we too look for caves to shelter us when we've got nothing else. Millions of us hid in the sewers and subway tunnels while the thaumaturgical storms raged above. A whole generation knew nothing of open skies.

I've heard it was a child who first found the entrance to the Underground. At first those who went down thought it a blessing. They found vegetation suitable for human food, and caves deep enough that the prowlers couldn't find them. Some even found ancient treasures.

Of course, as you know, they found other things as well. Or should I say, other things found them."

garrisonjames said...

Fun. This is a very interesting angle, and one that the benevolent corporate overlords would probably never approve in a million years. This is coming together nicely, gaining some real heft and visceral-ness. And it's definitely in your distinctive voice. Very cool.

You've raised the bar substantially...

Bill the Dungeon Master said...

This might be how I end up flavoring Paladins in Thervingia. Thanks, Trey, for setting the ol' mental gears turning!

Legion said...

It's Hammer Time!

Trey said...

@Harald - Ah ha! Explicitly post-apocalyptic then. Very nice.

@Garrisonjames - Yeah you make a good point. I'm completely trying to hit every convention/trope of ye olde game but just a slight tonal shift makes a big difference.

@Bil - Glad I could be inspirational. :)

@Legion - Just no hammer pants.

Michael Moscrip said...

Wow, I can totally see using this in one of my fantasy campaigns as well. I've seen so many people try to fit DnD Clerics into the Church system, and I currently do it myself. Turning that on its ear like this is such a clear and simple alternative, and makes so much more sense.

Brendan said...

This is awesome.

Canageek said...

Should I take it that you are a bit burnt out on the city and want something new for a bit?

Trey said...

You should take it to mean that (as has been true over the blog's history) I'm going to write a mixture of stuff. More City posts are coming, more on this, more on pulp space, probably, and other stuff that occurs to me.