Thursday, September 3, 2015

Different Takes on Clerics


While on my vacation I did have a could of ideas of different ways to approach clerics. Nothing that would change there mechanics really, but changes to their "fiction" within D&D-like implied settings.

A God for Every Cleric
D&D talks a lot about clerics acquiring followers and whatnot, but only level titles hint at them being in a hierarchy from the outset. Maybe that's because every one of them adds a new god/Avatar/Saint/interpretation? They're struggles are the beginning of something at least partially new. Each cleric is the founder of a new cult, if not a whole new religion, and their deeds are its founding legends.

Saints & Madmen
Maybe clerics aren't priests with orders and heirarchies at all? Maybe they're crazy hermits and empowered saints? I've thought along these lines before, but there clerics were evangelists of a new apocalyptic cult. This way, they have always existed, but they're holy and special. Not all priests have spells.

8 comments:

Nirkhuz said...

I love the first approach. In a game with a Church-like group clerics could be holy men with a special link with a Saint that grant them powers. Obviusly not all priest will be clerics, but it could be an interesting change.

John Matthew Stater said...

The second idea also explains why not every parish priest can whip out a healing spell when somebody needs it.

Brandon Lighter said...

I have run newer-school games (2e, 3e, Pathfinder) using the first concept. Given the amount of variability in priest powers in those editions (various combinations of spheres, domains, whatever), I found it easier to assume that there were thousands of gods, spirits, and saints, rather than a defined pantheon.

PC Clerics picked whatever domains and alignment they chose, then got to name their own deity and make up his worship as they went along. There were no large churches or temples (save in the very largest cities where you might have a temple on the order of the Pantheon in Rome, dedicated to all gods, or the shrine of the unnamed god in Athens). The common people tended to be broad pantheists praying to whomever seemed appropriate at the time.

The Spooky Whisk said...

Hope you had a great vacation.

JB said...

Yeah, I think the first idea has legs...and it can work in a number of different genres.

Trey said...

@Whisk - Thanks!

Jeremy Duncan said...

Sister Aimee!

Trey said...

Indeed.