Sunday, June 18, 2017

I Call Upon the Great Gazoo!

A lot of people don't like the Cleric class and its "my god gives me cool powers." Certainly, that sort of heavy divine involvement doesn't fit all settings, nor does the idea of granting the powers rather ran just performing miracles.

Another option would be the "personal genie" or guardian angel type character common to genre media. Jeannie and Shazzan are examples of this type, but I'm thinking more the smaller, invisible to most imp-type like the Great Gazoo, or in a less helpful mode, the impish would be side kicks of comic book heroes like Bat-Mite or Qwsp.

So when a cleric used a "spell" this would be this spirit/being doing stuff at their request. Why they would have such specific and limited interventions could be explained by them being "in training" or maybe just getting used to the Prime Material Plane.

(You might think this fits even better with the 5e Warlock and their Patrons, and I suppose it could, but their spells seem even less a fit than the clerics for this sort of setup.)

In media, this sort of thing is typically portrayed humorously, but it doesn't have to be. If you did portray it humorously, though, not having other characters be sure of whether the tutelary spirit actually exists or whether the PC is crazy might be amusing.


James Mishler said...

There are also the Sandestins from Vance's later Dying Earth works (essentially re-skinned genies), though of course those served arch-mages, rather than clerics.

Also, the Al'Qadim setting had the sha'irs, which were wizards who had their own personal genies who went into the elemental planes to collect the energy for the casting of spells.

In Deities and Demi-Gods it was noted that lowest level spells came through the cleric's own faith, mid-level spells were granted by deific functionaries such as angels and demons, and the greatest spells came directly from the gods themselves... so this fits right in with classic themes.

JB said...

Yeah, I was just going to bring up Vance's Sandestins. Would be a great re-skinning of the cleric class for a non-religious type of fantasy.

Very neat.

Brian JP said...

Another comic book analogy that this brings to mind is Johnny Thunder's Thunderbolt, who popped up when Johnny said the magic word "Cei-U" and fulfilled whatever request Johnny made.