Thursday, January 2, 2020

Weird Revisited: Different Takes on Clerics

I was thinking of writing a post on different approaches to clerics in D&D--then I discovered I had already written one in 2015! I plan to expand on this in an upcoming post..


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.

4 comments:

diregrizzlybear said...

As someone who is ever dissatisfied with the cleric, I've had similar thoughts. I wrote up a post a few months ago with my thoughts and a collection of other clerics from across the blogosphere. You might find this handy for your own future post:
https://diregrizzlybear.blogspot.com/2019/07/anticlericalism.html

Trey said...

Thanks!

JB said...


I've thought of a lot of different ways to spin the cleric class over the years...so many that I continue to toy with the idea of compelling them into a single source book. However, the idea of the cleric being some sort of gifted psychic that creates her own deity/avatar, building a hierarchy even as she develops in experience and power (as would seem to be suggested by your first option)...well, that's a new spin, even for me. Very cool.
: )

knobgobbler said...

For anything outside of an ersatz-Christian religion, I think I prefer some version of Shaman... interacting with a 'real' spiritual world that may or may not actually align with the cosmology of the practitioner (their magic works even if they're wrong about the details).

The idea of Clerics as 'Saints' is something I've been fiddling with for a long while... wanting to use it for Lamentations of the Flame Princess, having them be 'possessed' by supernatural beings that the quasi-Christian culture interprets as legendary martyrs (but really aren't). Thing is that would, IMO, call for each 'Saint' to have a different bag of tricks... and widely varied powers. Fun ideas getting friction from 'playability'.