The Cleric

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Through every incarnation of D&D the cleric has always given me the most trouble. My favourite clerics (in terms of concept rather than execution) were the Priests of Specific Mythoi from the second edition game, and I’ve desperately been trying to recreate them ever since. To me a cleric should be entirely coloured by his faith. A cleric who worships the God of Fire should be completely different from one who worships the God of Death: different appearance, different skills, different powers, different spells. Stand them side-by-side and you shouldn’t even know they are the same class.

Clerics with a common spell list, or common abilities such as turn undead or channel energy strike me as a bit lazy. They could have been so much more. To this end I have created many, many house rules for clerics. And because clerics have always been an intrinsic part of the campaign, those abilities are deeply woven into the campaign world. Excising them, returning to a semblance of the published rules is not going to be easy – and arguably it’s not that desirable either.

However, we have our Pact of Minimal Tinkering. So let’s compare the Pathfinder cleric to the House Ruled cleric and see if it’s possible to fit a square peg into a round hole.

The Pathfinder Cleric: All clerics have the same skill list and the same proficiency in weapons and armour, with the exception that all know how to wield their deity’s favoured weapon. All clerics also share the same spell list. The only limitation is that clerics can’t cast spells that have a descriptor for an Alignmen that is opposite to their own. In addition to this generic spell-list, each cleric chooses two Domains that reflect the purview of the cleric’s god. For example, Animal and Plant for a god of nature. Each domain adds a few faith-specific spells to the cleric’s list that may not be on the Cleric spell list. Each domain also grants the cleric two special powers, one at first level and one at eighth. These powers are tied to the theme of the domain. All clerics also have the ability to channel energy a number of times per day. This unleashes a wave of energy (positive for Good clerics, or negative for Evil clerics) that heals and harms according, and increases in power as the cleric gains levels.

The House Ruled Cleric: All clerics of different gods have different skill lists and different proficiencies in weapons and armour depending on the nature of their faith. All spells in the game are divided into one of 46 domains. Every cleric has three major domains and three minor domains that come together to create a spell list unique to the cleric’s religion. The cleric can also choose special powers listed under its major domains. These powers are directly tied to the nature of the domain, and the cleric gets one at every even level, so many more than the traditional Pathfinder cleric.


The Three Tests

I like the version of the cleric that we’re using, but I know that it is complex and I know that some of the domain powers I’ve come up with are ill-advised and game-breaking (the Second Chance ability of the rebirth domain springs to mind). If we are to adopt the Pathfinder rules as they are written, then I don’t think there’s a place for the cleric in its current house-ruled form. However, I also don’t think I could stomach a vanilla cleric that uses the rules as written either…

Narrative Integrity

This is the biggest stumbling block to the adopting the Pathfinder cleric in all its glory. The signature abilities of clerics have long been established in the campaign world. Priests of Calafax are immune to fire, even from first level. Priests of Zephyre have the ability to fly at will. Nothing in the domain powers currently in print comes anywhere near this. We simply cannot move to the printed rules. The story doesn’t allow it. It can’t be done.

Games without Miniatures

There’s nothing too much to worry about on this front, though. Although some domain powers may use the tactical combat rules these are things we can look at in a case-by-case basis.

Our Preferences

I find the Pathfinder clerics bland and pointless. I don’t really want to use them in their current form. However, the basic rules for the cleric with its Channel Energy feature and its homogenous spell list are simple. There are tools within the Pathfinder rules that would help us customise clerics into something of an approximation of what we have now. It would probably be easier to handle, as it had full rule support.

As far as I see it we have three choices:

1) We keep the house ruled cleric and be damned. We continue to work on the spell lists and the domain powers to bring them in line with the Pathfinder game.

2) We adopt the Pathfinder cleric whole-cloth. We simply take the rules as written because they are easier.

3) We take the middle road. We make an effort to create a cleric that is as like the published rules as possible, but we don’t compromise the story elements that already exist in the game.

My preference is option 3. Getting there is not going to be particularly easy however. I’ve given a little though to an approach that we can take, which I explain below. Then I present a cleric crafted with these rules: the good old Cleric of Calafax. Most of us are familiar with how that clerci works, so I think it’s the best starting point for our discussion. There are rules in Pathfinder for Subdomains, clerical Archetypes, and for Variant Chanelling. We have been given the tools to make this work. So let’s see what we can do.


Building a New Cleric

The generic Pathfiner cleric has the following class abilities and features. In order to create a new cleric that operates the same way under the Pathfinder rules, we’ll have to hit each of these abilities in the new cleric as well, although we do have the freedom to change them slightly.

  • Base Attack Bonus: Average.
  • Saving Throws: Good Fortitude and Will saving throws.
  • Class Skills: Appraise, Craft, Diplomacy, Heal, Knowledge [arcana], Knowledge [history], Knowledge [nobility], Knowledge [the planes], Knowledge [religion], Linguistics, Profession, Sense Motive and Spellcraft as class skills.
  • Skill Ranks: 2 + Int Modifier per level.
  • Hit Points: 1d8 hit points per level.
  • Alignment: Must be within one step of the deity the cleric worships.
  • Weapon and Armour Proficiency: The favoured weapon of the deity, as well as all simple weapons, light armour, medium armour and shields (but not tower shields).
  • Aura: An Aura that corresponds with the deity’s alignment.
  • Spells: Access to all spells on the generic Cleric spell-list. Clerics are acquired spellcasters that prepare their spells in advance. They have a set number of spell-slots of each spell level that they can cast each day; although they can prepare a lower level spell in a higher level slot. Clerics gain bonus spell slots for having a high wisdom. The cleric also has orisons that he can cast at-will; although he must still select which orisons are available to him in any one day and prepare them accordingly.
  • Channel Energy: All clerics can unleash a wave of energy that affects targets within a 30-foot radius of the cleric, and the cleric as well if desired. Good aligned clerics channel Positive energy, Evil-aligned clerics channel Negative energy. Neutral clerics choose which type of energy they channel during character creation, after which time it cannot be changed. Positive energy heals living creatures and harms undead. Negative energy harms living creatures and heals undead. However, the cleric must announce whether he is chanelling energy to heal or harm when he uses it. He can’t both heal and harm at the same time. The energy inflicts (or heals) 1d6 damage per odd-numbered cleric level to a maximum of 10d6 at nineteenth level. The cleric can use the ability 3 + his Charisma modifier times per day. Certain divine feats can be selected that modify this power with other abilities such as Turn Undead.
  • Domains: The cleric selects two domains from his god’s portfolio. He may only select an Alignment domain if his own alignment matches it. Each domain adds nine new spells to clerics spell list: one of each level from 1st to 9th for each domain. The cleric also gains an additional spell slot for each spell level that must be used to prepare one of his domain spells. If a domain spell is also on the generic cleric list, then the cleric can prepare that spell in one of his other spell slots. If not the spell can only be prepaered in the domain slot. In addition, the domains grant two special powers: one at first level and one (usually) at eighth level. There are 35 domains in the Pathfinder game. There are also 70 sub-domains (two per domain) that a cleric can choose instead of the related domain if their deity permits it. There’s a full list of all domains and sub-domains over at the Pathfinder SRD.
  • Spontaneous Casting: At the point of casting the cleric can replace any prepared spell with a cure or an inflict spell of the same or lower level. This means the cleric never has to prepare healing magic as it is always on hand. Which spells the cleric is able to spontaneously cast depends on his Channel Energy choice. If the cleric channels positive energy then he spontaneously casts cure spells; if he channels negative energy then he spontaneously casts inflict spells.

Okay… I’m going to take each on these elements one step at a time, and highlight my thoughts and intentions moving forward.

Pantheon-related Archetypes

Some priestshoods and gods are connected and have certain abilities in common. The Moon Gods are an obvious example of this. Calafax, Zephrye, Vitaeous, Terranor, Mortis and Sharrash are elemental deities exemplified by the six moons of Iourn. The waxing and waning of those moons affects the powers and abilities of the clerics. Traditionally, a cleric in the dark of the moon is less powerful and has access to less spells. A cleric during the full moon is super-charged. I don’t want to get rid of this element as it has significant game related effects.

Therefore I would propose that all clerics of one of the Moon Gods would have to take the “Moon Faith” archetype. This would present subtly different ways that spells and domain powers would function during the dark and the full of the moon. It wouldn’t preclude the cleric also having other archetypes if that was a route the player wanted to take. You’ll see the text of the Moon God archetype when we look at the cleric of fire below.

Church-related Archetypes

Just because clerics worship the same deity, does not mean that they are equal. On Iourn, the Moon Gods are worshipped by various different priesthoods. Calafax is a the god of terrorism and explosions to the Bombastics, he is the god of war to the Warmakers, and he is also the god of fire, rebirth and good dress-sense to the Firestarters. Helian, the god of the Hadradan faith, is worshipped by Elyastic, Vandanian and Timonite churches. The rules for these different churches shouldn’t be equal.

Therefore I propose that where there is more than one church or sect that worships a god, then that church should also have its own archetype. This is an archetype that jollies along with any pantheon-related archetype. So the character of Nicos in the Iourn campaign would be of the cleric class, but also take the Moon Faith archetype and the Firestarter archetype.

Church-related archetypes would influence the following aspects of a cleric: base attack bonus, saving throws, class skills, skill ranks, hit points and weapon & armour proficiencies. These would be balanced so that, taken as a whole, they would have the same net utility as the vanilla cleric.

Aura and Alignment

I haven’t looked at Alignment closely yet, but it’s my opinion that we’re going to have to accept it in some form in order for the game to work mechanically. However, there’s no reason that it needs to be in the forefront of the cleric. The universe of Iourn is polarised by the forces of Good, Evil, Law and Chaos and everyone sits somewhere on the alignment spectrum whether they realise it, or care about it, or not. I use terms such as Taint, Rapture, Order and Entropy as physical forces but this is really just somantics: beneath it is alignment.

I view alignment as something that is mutable. A person may slide around the scale completely unknowingly depending on their actions. As far as the cleric is concerned, I just think that a cleric simply has to follow the tennets of his deity and his church. If he does that then his ‘alignment’ must be acceptable. It should be gross violations of the church’s code that expel a priest, not something as abstract and woolly as an “alignment violation”.

I think that we can leave the Alignment system quietly ticking along in the background. We can reference it every now and then (when someone casts detect evil, for example) but for the most part we can ignore it. That’s largely how I’d view these elements of the cleric: yes, they exist in the game. No: we’re not going to talk about them unless we absolutely have to.

Spells

Now we’re getting to the meat of it. Obviously clerics will use the standard rules for casting spells. I’ve talked about that on this blog in the post on Arcane and Divine spells, so there’s no point discussing that again here. What I proposing is that we follow the rules as written here. There is a generic list of cleric spells as it’s published in the Core Rules, and all clerics from all faiths have access to all spells from that list.

“Whoa there, Tex” you’re thinking. Doesn’t this is contradict the ideal that each cleric of each faith is unique? Well, it does slightly. But I’m hoping that other elements discussed, and how we’re going to handle domains, spontaneous casting and channel energy will make up for this. The fact is that the generic Cleric spell list is so hard-wired into Pathfinder that saying it doesn’t exist causes more problems than it solves and would lead to more house rules, which we’re trying to avoid.

It’s not entirely without story-precedent on Iourn. In my setting gods grant divine power, they don’t grant spells. It’s up to the invidual clerics and churches to create spells. You can imagine that over the centuries spells have been passed around between friendly churches, they’ve been copied, they’ve been stolen… until you reach a point when the majority of the more utilitarian spells are available to most churches.

What I am going to do is remove the Alignment restriction on spellcasting. Good clerics can cast spells with the Evil descriptor if they want to. However, they might not stay Good clerics for long if they keep using such a spell. Their alignment would drift. Whether that would have any other game effect beyond roleplaying would remain to be seen; but the impact on a character’s conscience should be enough.

One last point: in my post on Arcane and Divine spells I appealed for the retention of one of my favourite house rules. I said that I wanted clerics to learn new spells in the same way as wizards, that rather than automatically get access to every spell ever, they should grow their own personal spell list in the same way as a wizard does. Those rules would make the use of the generic cleric spell list much easier to swallow and to administer. Go and read them if you haven’t already.

Channel Energy

Channel Energy as a concept and a mechanic stays with the cleric. However, the type of energy chanelled and the effects of the channelling vary from faith to faith. There are some fab rules for Variant Chanelling on pages 28-31 of Ultimate Magic (2011), and also online at the Pathfinder PRD. I would definitely want to use these these rules, at least in principle. The alternatives in the text are just examples, but I’ve taken the principles into something I hope is generally in keeping.

Domains

We abandon the house rules for domains and domain powers. We keep the Domains and the Subdomains as they are written in the Pathfinder rules. Clerics still choose two domains and still get the granted powers from those domains at the appointed levels. However: we make two changes to these domains. Firstly, domain spells aren’t limited to one of each spell level from levels 1 to 9. There can be any number of spells of any level in the domain. This means we don’t miss spells that are incredibly appropriate for clerics because of the restrictive format that domains currently have. Obviously, this rules change would lead to an enormous bloat in cleric’s spell-list unless we also rule that clerics gain new spells in the same way as wizards (something I’m continuing to push for). Secondly, although clerics still need to prepare a domain spell in their domain slot, I would lift the restriction that says spells that are not on the generic cleric list can’t be prepared in other spell slots. All domain spells can be prepared in any slot regardless of their origin. I think this would encourage players to learn and prepare spells closer to their idiom.

Obviously, this means that there would still be work to do in expanding the spells on the domain lists, and it makes the subdomains merely a source of alternative domain powers rather than also being a source of alternative domain spells. I’m okay with that. A lot of work on putting spells into appropriate domains has already been done by the house rules. Graham’s new Spell Filter will make it very easy for us to produce a list of all spells in a domain, so there shouldn’t be any book-keeping issues once that is up and running.

But wait! There’s more.

I also propose that all clerics have a third domain. A “Deity Domain” if you will. This domain looks very much like the cleric’s other two domains, but it contains powers and spells that only clerics of that particular god have access to. So the Calafax Domain would grant immunity to fire, and the signature fiery aura. The spells in the Deity Domain could also be other signature clerical powers that we’ve used in the past, but converted into a spell format. Again there is no limit to the number of spells that can be in the Deity Domain, but there’s likely to be less than in the other domains.

Spontaneous Casting

We retain the mechanic for Spontaneous Casting, but the type of spells that can be spontaneously cast vary from faith to faith. Normally, spells that can be spontaneously cast would be defined by a descriptor or a subschool. Therefore clerics of Calafax could spontaneously cast all spells with the Fire descriptor instead of all cure spells as it is in the printed rules. Again the versatility of the cleric becomes directly related to the god he worships.


And there we have it. It’s taken a long time to describe rules that I think make fairly minimal changes to the Pathfinder cleric. Yes, there’s a lot to take in… but I think this would really do the job while staying as close to the spirit of the generic Pathfinder cleric as I dare. Spellcasting, Channel Energy, Domains and Spontaneous Casting have all be drawn back to the base cleric and then embellished.

There’s far more tinkering for this class than anything else in the rules, but I think there always would have been. The cleric is a bit of a guilty pleasure for me. The above is a compromise, but is it a good compromise? The proof of the pudding is in the eating, so here’s the new cleric of Calafax attached as a PDF. Have a read and tell me what you think.

New Deal Clerics


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19 thoughts on “The Cleric

  1. Ok. I think this is the right approach. Certainly for the Moon faiths. Others will need less tinkering. However, I think you’ve over complicated things. Archetypes and domains are absolutely the way to go. I think you can simplify things though.

    Have one archetype for each moon faith, not for each church. The archetype gives the following powers:

    Waxing/waning moon (which does not replace anything as it is power neutral);
    Altered skill list with relation to the god’s interest;
    Channel Energy replaced by expanded spell list particularly relevant to the god (probably two spells per level that are not on the standard spell list). Channeling energy in the PF way has never been something Iourn Clerics have done – they have lots of spells and special powers.

    Domains – Keep it at two domains. Three is power creep for no good reason. Giving the extra spells in the archetype covers the hole in spell lists that the extra domain is trying to cover. If someone really wants more domain spells/powers, there are archetypes for that.

    Have the individual churches be defined by their domain choice. The Church of Contention might choose from Fire, War and Glory domains (or something like that). Or have a specific Church of Contention domain alongside a group of general Calafax domains. That should cover it without creating more archetypes.

    Spontaneous casting – I’d change it so a cleric can use all spell slots (including the domain slot) to cast any spell they know. Then have them spontaneously cast any domain spell, not just a fire descriptor spell (for example). That makes them even more tied to their god’s intentions, in my eyes.

    Otherwise, I think it’s all on the right lines.

  2. Actually, replace channel energy with expanded spells and a minor power at level x. Nicos’ fiery thumb etc. That’s more balanced.

  3. I’m going to disagree with you on a couple of points.

    The introduction of the third domain isn’t just to get some extra spells on the cleric’s list, it’s to find a way to shoehorn the signature powers that we’ve always used in the game.

    Clerics of Calafax are immune to fire and they can cover themselves in a fiery aura: we’ve seen Nicos do it dozens of times. But there’s nothing in any domains that grant powers like that. The Fire domain grants fire resistance, but resistance isn’t immunity. It doesn’t really cut the mustard for something like the Church of Fire.

    Plus if the waxing and the waning of the moon is going to diminish domain powers in any meaningful way, then concentrating that change to Deity Domain powers helps to manage the workload. I wouldn’t want three different versions of every domain power that a Moon cleric could conceivably gain. And just saying “Your domain powers function as if you were x levels lower” is a bit boring.

    I could keep it to two domains, but in practice every cleirc would take their deity domains and the difference between individual churches – such as Firestarters and Warmakers – wouldn’t be as marked.

    Then there’s Channel Energy – I’d really like to keep this in. The mechanics I have for the fire-based version may need some work, but it just seems such a fundamental part of the Pathfinder cleric’s build, that removing it would be a shame. It would also deny the cleric the chance to take many of the divine feats in the Pathfinder game that manipulate this ability.

    I’m not saying that the version of the cleric I’ve come up with should be the version we use. Some of the rules are a bit ropey, and I agree the use of archetypes is clumsy, but an Iourn cleric has to hit the following:

    1) Needs to retain the iconic granted powers that we’ve seen used in the campaign over the years.

    2) Needs to retain access to the spells they’ve used in the campaign.

    Those are the two stumbling blocks. Any ideas how to incorporate them into a leaner more Pathfinderish version?

    • I am about to run a game so I’ll be quick.

      The point of archetypes is that you replace existing features with new ones that create an overall balance. You’re just adding powers here. Either channeling or spontaneous casting (or both) has to go if you want more powers.

      I’ll have a think about it. There’s no doubt about it though, the powers of Oracles fit the bill for Moon Priests a bit more than Clerics.

  4. I have had a quick read of Oracles and some things would work – like the revelations would nicely hold the legacy cleric powers. I also like the sorceror style spellcasting of limited spells but more casting.

    However, there are two things that I think would stop it working.
    (i) The curses. It doesn’t wash with me that all priests suddenly have a curse that they never had previously.
    (ii) There aren’t anywhere near enough bonus spells to differentiate the different moon priests from each other. Aside from the 9 bonus spells, they all use the standard cleric list.

    Neil – the church of contention rock a bit too hard. They have more hit points and access to to martial weapons and heavy armour and they don’t seem to have lost anything to balance this.

    Aside from that, I have no objections, but as I haven’t played pathfinder then I guess any problems might not jump out at me.

  5. I thought of using Oracles for Moon Priests. I think that the curse is an issue that is easily side-stepped by simply inventing new curses. The “curse” for Moon Priests could simply be the waxing and waning of the moons.

    The diversity of the Oracle spell list is another matter.

    The thing is that the Oracle of Flame is not quite the same as a Cleric of Calafax. The powers aren’t quite right: Oracles aren’t immune to fire until 17th level. Therefore a Cleric of Calafax would need to have different powers to the Oracle of Flame, even if we were using the Oracle’s progression. And it seems less hassle to modify the cleric than modify the oracle.

    Of course, you may think differently.

    Daniel: I’m not sure that the cleric needs over-all balance. Of the things I’m proposing to change: the phases of the moons are self-balancing; changes to hit die, class skills, weapon & armour proficiencies, or saving throws replace comparable features; Channel Energy is simply changing, not becoming more or less powerful; Spontaneous Casting is just working on different spells; and as for the spell list – if clerics learn spells like a wizard then it doesn’t matter how many spells are on the list: all that matters are the ones the cleric knows.

    So basically the additional features boil down to the two new domain powers, and I think the cleric can stand that without becoming over-powered. Of course you could stagger domain powers more. You could get one at 1st, 4th, 8th, 12th, 16th and 20th levels. Any power that says its attained at a particular level should instead be read as the cleric having to be that level before selecting the ability.

    That would stop the cleric being front-loaded with abilities, and also stretch progression acoss some of the class’s dead levels. Would that help?

    Steve: Yes, I think you’re right about the Church of Contention. They should probably keep the d8 hit die.

  6. I was just thinking with Oracles that the revelations fit the old list of powers pretty closely. And the waxing and waning would replace the curse, as you say. However, too much other stuff would have to change that it is probably best to stick with Cleric.

    However, they do need to be balanced. Giving Clerics immunity to fire at first level as a bonus ability is not a balanced addition and I don’t think we can start saying at this stage, ‘I’m not sure that the cleric needs over-all balance’. It definitely does.

    Why are you so keen on channel energy? It’s not something Moon Priests have ever done before so it does not fit the narrative to add it in. Removing it from the Moon Priest archetype doesn’t remove it from the game. There are loads of other Clerics out there that might use it. Moon Priests are known for their many other powers, so they should have those instead, not as well. So, have the archetype replace channel energy with the the bonus Deity Domain. That’s balanced and fits the narrative.

    If you want to give extra spells known, then replace the heavy armour proficiency with a set list of one more spell per level. That’s how you build an archetype. Moon Priests are now distinctive in their fancy powers and wide, specialised, spell lists without being unbalanced.

    I still don’t see the need for Archetypes for all churches. Also, what if you change churches – Bombastic to Firestarter and back again, for instance? You wouldn’t change archetypes. I think the differences have to be through the domains. Calafax grants a number of possible domains (some from the book, some made up) and priests of each church are taught from the appropriate ones. Domains can give a bonus class skill as well as powers and spells so you can work the appropriate skills in that way. Proficiency with all martial weapons and heavier armour is very powerful. It is not a bonus extra. A Warmaker domain would have something along those lines as a domain power – the martial weapon proficiency and heavy armour feats maybe.

  7. Aargh. I don’t know. I wrote a long reply to your comments, but I just wound up going around in circles.

    I guess my points can best be summed up as follows:

    – The original powers of the Moon Gods (like the fire priest’s immunity to fire or the air priests ability to fly at will) were created during a simpler time when I was still thinking in second edition terms. But the fact is that they are there and established in the setting. Whether it’s unbalanced or not, they have to keep those abilities. I don’t see any wiggle-room there.

    – I want a low-maintainance cleric. And that means one as close to the published rules as possible. I don’t want to be in situation where I’m inventing a lot of additional rules elements like domains and domain powers. That’s why I’d like the basic structure of the cleric universal to all priests regardless of archetype.

    – Why would simply dropping a third domain on clerics at first level, and stretching out domain powers so they were gained at levels 1, 4, 8, 12, 16 and 20 break the class, or put it out of whack with other character classes? I just don’t see it. Seems perfectly in line with other classes. And it would be such an easy solution.

    I’m not convinced that we have to go out of our way to keep the cleric at the same power level, when there are quite obviously more and less powerful classes in the game anwyay. There isn’t really parity between the classes in third edition, and Pathfinder hasn’t really gone very far in addressing that disparity.

    Look at the three core acquired casters in the game: wizards, clerics and druids. Does adding a third domain to the cleric make it more powerful than the druid? I don’t think it does.

    I hope I’m not coming across as a bit shirty. I just really want to get this sorted out. I see the sense of distributing additional class skills, weapon and armour proficiencies within domains: that’s something to work on.

    I just want to make this as easy as possible.

  8. Not shirty at all Neil. We’re just trying to hammer out something that works.

    I think that what you’re suggesting is more complicated than what I am. Each Cleric has two archetypes, three domains and all the standard Cleric powers. I think there only needs to be one archetype, one of the abilities of which is to grant you the bonus domain you want to give everyone. I’ll write up an example of what I’m thinking to make it easier to visualise.

    My suggestion doesn’t ditch the powers we need to include. It gives just as many powers as your concept. We’re not thinking that differently really. I just think you’re trying to do it by shovelling on extras, rather than keeping the overall balance as it is. Giving the ability to fly at will as a bonus power is definitely too much to give out without taking other things away.

  9. Neil says:

    Don’t know enough about clerics to really comment but couldn’t you have primary and secondary domains where primary means the spell/ability is at one level, for example immunity to fire, whereas secondary would be at a different power level, for example resistant 15 to fire. That way Calafax priests could have the primary domain as fire and other fire-based priests have it as their secondary domain?

  10. Absolutely that’s possible. It all depends how far you want stray from the Pathfinder cleric as it’s written – and how much work you’re prepared to put in with rewriting the domains.

    The trick is finding something that works from a narrative stand-point, without making the Pathfinder cleric unrecognisable. Ideally all the game elements that the Pathfinder cleric currently enjoys would still be available to him.

    Looking back at my first attempt at a cleric, I think it was wrong for me to use Archetypes – because actually I wasn’t creating an archetype at all: I was creating a brand new cleric. A new paradigm for the cleric class with certain set abilities… almost the same as the printed cleric… but slightly more.

    So every cleric of every god would adopt the three-domain model, not just moon priests. That model would then become the defacto cleric that other archetypes were built upon.

    Clerics are a pain.

  11. Here’s my shot at adjusting Neil’s Cleric and moon priest. It’s not massively different, but it’s a different take on the intended direction.

    https://docs.google.com/open?id=0BwTnININK5Q1WHF6RFBXY3ZmN0k

    The sub-domains should have variant spells too, but that’s just detail. I’ve picked powers that seem appropriate but it’s the structure that’s important.

    For the Calafax priest, only the Calafax domain is compulsory. Any other domains or sub-domains are available but the individual churches would teach certain ones over the others. The same would go for the other moon faiths.

  12. I hope it makes sense.

    I think weapon focus for the warmaking domain is too much. The Oracle of Battle has a revelation called skill-at-arms which gives the proficiencies. It’s actually a pretty good ability.

    The other powers came straight from iourn.com. They might be too much/too little but I think the principle works.

  13. Hey Guys. I have had a quick read of Daniels moon priest and it looks good. Thinking mostly from the perspective of having to build Nicos (again), a few things jumped out at me though that might need another look:

    (i) I really think the different churches should have different skill lists. With their association with war, ride would be essential for Warmakers where streetwise doesn’t seem right. I think the number of class skills each church has should remain the same but they should be tweaked a bit to suit each one.

    (ii) Nicos has Unchaining the Flame and doesn’t have Mastery of Flame. The latter never really did anything for me. So as it stands he would need the Bombasticism sub domain but not the firestarter subdomain which doesn’t seem right. I basically want a way to get at Unchaining the Flame without taking the Bombasticism sub-domain.

    (iii) The Rebirth domain doesn’t exist in Pathfinder presumebly because all of the resurrection type spells are available to all priests on the general Cleric list. The Firestarters previously had a closer affinity with resurrection than any other churches. Is there a way that this could still be represented?

  14. Steve, Daniel…. I’m in the process of a making a follow-up post on the cleric. Seemed best to make a bigger deal of Daniel’s version than hide it in the comments. Will comment on all this soon.

  15. In that case, I won’t comment too much other than to say that the church specific domains could easily be renamed to exemplify the aspects of the god that those churches represent, rather than the actual church. That would make the powers more available to each priest, whilst focussing the churches in certain areas.

    Whole new skill lists are a little too much for me. Streetwise and Intimidate were the two skills that were on more than one list but not on the Cleric list. Although Streetwise may not exist any more. Are the Warmakers renowned for riding? If so, make it a bonus class skill on the martial domain. Otherwise, they can get it from other sources – Fighter levels, traits, feats.

    They key points are:

    1. The basic cleric works for every religion and is not being tweaked in order to provide the variety that Moon Priests need, but that isn’t there for other faiths. The spontaneous casting rules now work for everyone. You don’t have to find a descriptor for each faith to spontaneously convert. There are plenty of fire spells but there’s no water descriptor for instance, just cold. Cone of cold is not more Sharrashan than water breathing. What about priests of Moradin? What would they convert spells to?
    2. The archetype provides the variety of scope that Moon Priests need. They are renowned for fancy powers and they have never channelled energy (other than priests of Mortis and Vitaeous). Other faiths are not thus renowned. Clerics of Maglubiyet do not need the extra domain to rationalise them.
    3. Domains are easy to create and can fulfil the need we have for variety. A resurrection domain would be easy to add in.

    One last thought. If we use the rules for traits, each church can have an associated trait that gives those skills. It’s what the Golarian religion books do. It would only be a first level option though.

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