The Cleric – Take 2

Go to the Pathfinder: The New Deal index


My first stab at a New Deal version of the Cleric engendered a frank and forthright exchange of views. Since that post Daniel has created his own version of the cleric that better reflects the Pathfinder rules as they were intended. Equally, I’ve reconsidered my approach and created a new version of the cleric as well. They are both presented in this post.

I’ll state now that both versions of the cleric as presented here are workable enough to use in an Iourn campaign without causing too many ripples to either the system or the setting. Daniel’s version fit in much better with the power level of the cleric as he’s presented in the rulebooks. My version makes the cleric a little more versatile than he was before, although not really any more powerful. It’s a matter of taste. Obviously, I prefer my version or I wouldn’t have gone to the trouble of creating it, but have a look at both below and see what you think.

Daniel’s Cleric

Click to see Daniel's cleric

If the Moon Gods were released as part of the official Pathfinder game then this is probably how they would be presented. Daniel has taken the cleric as it appears in the rules, and created an Archetype for Moon Faith clerics, that is further modified depending which god is worshipped (only Calafax is shown here). The archetype swaps out some class abilities for others. So the Channel Energy ability (that’s never been something Iourn clerics can do anyway) has been swapped out to make way for a third domain, thus giving the clerics a wider spell choice and some of the signature abilities that they’ve always enjoyd in Iourn games.

There have also been a few tweaks to some of the existing powers. Clerics of Calafax spontaneously cast their domain spells instead of the usual cure or inflict spells that are available to most clerics. Daniel has created brand new subdomains (Bombasticism, Firestarting and Warmaking) to help introduce some of the variety required by the sub-faiths of Calafax. The Deity Domain that I introduced in my last post, now adds a couple of skills to the list of the cleric’s class skills to help flesh out the idiosyncracies of clerics of fire.

Critique

Thre are some obvious nit-picks. The balance of class skills probably isn’t quite right. Warmakers don’t need Streetwise, they need Ride or Knowledge (engineering). Equally Bombastics could do with a bit of Stealth and Disguise. The text of the powers as written (Mastery of Flame, Unchaining the Flame) aren’t really good enough – but that’s my fault and not Daniel’s as the text was taken directly from the Iourn site.

But these are very minor points and easily addressed. Subdomains could suggest a faith-specific skill or skills that could be swapped into the generic cleric’s list of class skills. The powers could be rewritten. These aren’t elements that I have a problem with as they are easily adjusted. However, there are two stumbling blocks to me accepting that this approach is the best way forward:

The first is that there’s less customisation for the cleric than I’d like. The lists of domain spells are still rather short. Clerics of Calafax wouldn’t have access to a wide variety of fire spells. They’d bascially be stuck with the nine spells in the Fire domain, which doesn’t strike me as right. A wizard shouldn’t be able to do more with fire than a cleric of Calafax. They are the masters. Also by splitting some other abilities over the new sub-domains we make it tricky to recreate past characters. As Steve pointed out in a comment in the last post on the Cleric, Nicos is a Firestarter with access to the Unchaining the Flame power. But to get that power again under this system he’d need the Bombasticism domain… and that does seem wrong.

Secondly, and more importantly, this approach only solves the probelm of Moon God clerics… not every other religion in the system. You see I don’t really want to use the generic cleric for anything. Cleric of Moradin, or Llolth or Azygous all need an equal degree of customisation. They all need their own unique powers and wider spell lists. I don’t want to give those clerics those things at the expense of the Channel Energy class ability. I think that Channel Energy is crucial to making the class feel like a Pathfinder cleric – it’s Pathfinder’s big idea reagarding clerics and I don’t want to lose it from the system. Plus it’s a big chunk of rules we’d never use.

My first approach to a New Deal cleric was dead wrong. I shouldn’t have been looking at making the changes I wanted to the cleric via an archetype. I should be been changing the base cleric itself. By changing some elements of the base class to allow a greater degree of customisation, we’re then able to use archetypes to make more fundamental (but fair) changes. So keep Daniel’s version of the cleric in mind, as you may think that’s a better approach, and have a look at my second attempt:

My Cleric

Click for the 2nd version of the New Deal Cleric

Now, I’ve included the full text of the cleric so the changes I’ve made may not be immediately obvious. So here’s a list of the changes that have been made to the base cleric class:

  • All clerics must choose a deity. There are no generic godless clerics on Iourn.
  • The cleric learns new spells as a wizard. We already discussed this rule change and everyone thought it was a good idea. It’s now incorporated into the text of the cleric class.
  • All clerics gain a third domain, which must be the Deity Domain. This is an extra on top of their normal abilities.
  • Each domain offers a wider selection of spells than just nine. Basically all thematically appropriate spells can be made available to the cleric through the domain. This doesn’t affect the number of spells the cleric knows, but it gives him a wider and idiomatic selection to choose from.
  • Domain spells have been completely folded into the cleric’s normal spells. There is no longer a domain spell slot, nor any special rules regarding domain spells.
  • Each domain grants two powers, but those powers aren’t all immediately available. Domain powers are gained at levels 1, 4, 8, 12, 16 and 20.

I haven’t made any changes to the Deity Domain for Calafax at all since the last post. It’s merely an extra domain for clerics of Calafax. I’m not entirely happy with the text  of the Fiery Aura power, but it will suffice for the moment. Note that among the spells it grants are reworked versions of old powers Unchaining the Flame and Mastery of Flame. Having these as spells makes the powers available to any cleric of Calafax, but not to priets of other religions.

All the other domains and subdomains are unchanged. I’ve introduced the new Warbound subdomain to allow clerics with access to the War domain to have the option to gain a power that gives them proficiency in all martial weapons, heavy armour and tower shields. I take the point that it was too much to layer into an archetype. Whether a cleric would take this subdomain or simply dip into a level of fighter is debatable, but the option is there.

Which brings us to the Archetype. I’d like to try to create just one Archetype per god, so the Cleric of Calafax Archetype covers the differences between the three sub-faiths, but will also repeat the lunar spellcasting and lunar powers ability that is common to all Moon Faiths. I think this is the best way to do it. I didn’t want to have to create multiple archetypes if I didn’t have to.

The archetype reflavours Channel Energy and Spontaneous Casting into something that really makes these clerics seem like clerics of fire. I quite like Spontaenous Casting applying to a descriptor or a subschool rather than specific spells. Plus the increased number of domain spells means that it’s simply not possible to take Daniel’s approach here, sensible as it seems.

Each sub-faith swap three skills into their classs skill list. Although it was tricky finding appropriate skills to give up, I think this approach works the best as it has a net neutral result. You can imagine clerics of drow god Vhaeraun adding skills like Stealth and Disable Device into their class skill list, so this will work well as a principle to apply to all faiths.

Critique

The fundamental difference between my approach and Daniel’s is that rather than swapping out existing abilities of the published cleric, I’m creating a brand new cleric: one that is more suited to what I want to do with it in Iourn. It’s an approach that can apply equally to all religions – not just the Moon Faiths. I’m deliberately not changing the fundamental elements of the Pathfinder Cleric. So we get to keep Channel Energy, which I think is important within the system. On the whole, I consider this minimal tinkering – and it’s a version of the cleric that I can live with.

Is it too powerful? I don’t think it is. Is it more powerful? Well, I’m not entirely sure of that either.

There are going to be much wider variations of the cleric under these rules than under either the published rules or Daniel’s version. The wider domain spell lists means that players will probably pick up spells that most accurately represent their character’s faith. Clerics of Fire are going to take the role of Artillery, not healers. Clerics of Vhaeraun will be sneakier than most rogues. But that’s always been the case in Iourn, and I would argue that it’s a desirable state of affairs. Clerics should be highly specialised. However, at the same time they still have access to the generic Cleric’s spell list so Steve’s old (and wholly justified) complaint that Nicos was a bit of a one-trick pony will be laid to rest.

The wider spell-lists (and third domain of spells) only give players more choice. The rules don’t actually give them more spells. They know the same number of spells they ever did; and can still only cast a certain number of spells per day. The added domain powers are something a bit different.

I accept that the Deity Domain powers are more powerful than anything you’ll find in a published book. BUT these are powers enshrined in the lore of the setting. They have narrative power behind them and there is no way (whatever system we use) that these powers are not going to be available. They’re in Daniel’s version as well. By spreading out the acquisition of these powers across the cleric’s 20-level progression I hope that I’ve succeeded in not top-loading the class at first level. I also think there’s more reason to play a straight cleric all the way through to level 20 now without some form of multiclassing.

A further note for Steve: To answer Steve’s questions in the comments of the last post on clerics… There’s no reason why the Firewalker cannot simply remain a Template as before be layered on top of all these changes. Templates still exist in Pathfinder, and because there are no rules for Equivalent Character Level (ECL) they are easier to apply. You’re rigth that there’s no Rebirth domain. There are a few ways to go here… we could say that the lack of resurrection magic from other churches is a cultural and ethical thing, rather than a mechanical thing. Sure a priest of Terranor could cast resurrection, but he’s simply not inclined to. Never underestimate religious dogma. Or we could make magic that raises the dead extremely rare and give the clerics of Calafax a spell available through their Deity Domain (that no other priesthood could cast) that restores the dead. So there are lots of options here.

Discuss

This isn’t a straight choice between Daniel’s version of the cleric and mine. We should discuss both and see what elements are our favourites. They have the advantage of being two different approaches to the same problem, so hopefully we should come up with a definitive result this time.


Go to the Pathfinder: The New Deal index

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25 thoughts on “The Cleric – Take 2

  1. I’ve just posted this on the other thread, so I’ll stick it here instead.

    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.

  2. I hadn’t considered using traits to add additional skills. That’s definitely at option.

    Maybe finding a descriptor or a subschool for each cleric’s spontaneous casting would be tricky… but I’m sure we can find something appropriate. We can always default back to cure or inflict spells if not.

  3. Ok. So above is my rationale for what I came up with. Neil’s version would work for the most part. I’ll let others comment more fully, but my main points on this are:

    1. Spontaneous casting by descriptor works for fire clerics but not for others.
    2. Granting channel energy for all moon priests seems to jeopardise verisimilitude (cheap shot, I know).
    3. Massively expanding the spell lists for domains and creating archetypes for every faith means a huge amount of work. It also means a lack of clarity as to what each cleric in the game can do. Until one turns up in the game and someone puts in the leg work to create all those rules, there is no framework for what a cleric of Arvoreen can do. Knowing they have access to the Good, Glory, Protection and Nobility domains, and knowing what that means beforehand, provides a clarity to Clerics that has always been a little lacking in the heavily modified rules we currently use. Throwing in an extra domain or sub-domain is much easier.
    4. Domains have a precedent for providing variety – the Trickery domain provides Bluff, Disguise and Stealth as class skills in addition to it’s other powers. I don’t think it’s impossible to create the characters we want within these rules.

    My version is more limiting (although there are loads of rules out there for tinkering with characters) but it provides a more solid framework and clarity. Neil’s version is much more focussed on the variety of the churches. I don’t think either is overpowered and I think, with a bit more tinkering either could work.

  4. I think you’d have to come with a spontaneous casting list for each faith. Again, it’s doable but it’s creating more work.

  5. And so it begins… again

    Just remember the poor wizard in this, if you’re not careful it will once again return to “why have a wizard when you can have a cleric?”.

    I thought the point of stripping down the rules was to even the playing field not restart the arms race…

    1: I will point out the spell creation rules to you – a matter of keeping BALANCE in the game. For example Wizards spells do more damage on a level for level basis compared to Clerics therefore you cannot simply slide them across wholesale (the one domain spell can be an exception) unless you also want to slide the entire Healing subschool across to wizards.

    2: If you remember the entire spontaneously casting cure spells was put in so that people would play clerics – they had options in combat rather than having to load up with a full load of healing magic. Whilst thematically appropriate it is not mechanically sound to reproduce with broader range of types. How many cure spells are there per level? one or later on when the mass kicks in two. How many “fire” spells will a cleric of calafax have access to each level… way more than the one at each spell level you’d have for the characters first 8 levels.

    3: Dan’s Cleric is far closer and truer to the Pathfinder ethos than Neil’s. It avoids all the “cool” powers that lead to power creep in the game. e.g. Immunity to fire – an ability only conveyed to others at level 20 yet to fire clerics level 1. Although flavourful it is this kind of “wouldn’t it be cool” that causes the system to collapse at higher levels. Also let me address the number of domain powers, yes you get two from each, but they’re not – as impled by Neil – availble from first level the first is the second is from 6th to 8th level. There is a staggered release.

    4: I don’t have a problem with channel energy being substituted with the elemental types, especially it should be a 30ft burst centred on the caster affecting ALL targets in range. Neil’s Cleric made it “nominated” which is a little bit too good, remember with Chanel positive energy it also affects living bad guys standing close.

    In conclusion all I can see is that if you keep pushing for how you want Pathfinder to be you are just going to end in the same mess as you are in know – clunky and unweildy at high levels – and generating resentment in those that keep changing characters only to see their power level fluctuate wildly.

    PS: Dan’s Cleric “Spells” description is wrong in that the extra domain slot is for domain spells only and cannot be used to spontaneously cast.

  6. Okay, I’ll try and catch all this in one post:

    Spontaneous Casting

    So the only reason that Spontaneous Casting exists for clerics was to allow them to prepare spells that weren’t healing spells and still feel useful. Fair enough…. so then can we then argue that in a world where all clerics don’t heal anyway we’ve gone beyond the need for Spontaeous Casting at all?

    Daniel says that it’s hard work to assign a descriptor/subschool to spontaneous casting. He’s right. Marc says that widening spontaneous casting makes a mockery of preparing spells. He’s right. So I see two choices.

    1) Keep spontaneous casting strictly to cure/inflict spells and nothing else.

    2) Get rid of spontaneous casting altogether.

    I’m happy with either one. Thoughts?

    Channel Energy

    My desire to keep Channel Energy stems from a desire to retain all the mechanical features of the Pathfinder cleric. If we remove it for Moon Faiths then we also remove it for every other faith in the game because I’d want all characters to be built in the same way. It’s as important that clerics of Moradin have unique spell lists as clerics of Calafax or Zephyre.

    I don’t want to excise this aspect of the game and all the feats and abilities that go hand-in-hand with it. There may be issues of verissimilitude, but the way it’s written it performs much more than “Son of Balance of the Four Humours”. Which is the angle I was going for here.

    I’m glad Marc get on board with reflavouring channel energy to make it fire-based. I have to say I thought the original text of Channel Enery said it affected nominated targets and not all creatures. I’ve checked again and it obviously doesn’t, so that was a mistake. Calafax’s version of Channel Enegry would either damage or heal all creatures within range – regardless of whether they are friend or foe.

    Game Balance

    Speciality clerics blur the wizard/cleric divide. A cleric of Calafax can lay the smack down as well as any evoker. A priestess of Fate should be able to foretell events as well as any diviner. In that regard I’m not that interested in game balance. It works form a narrative point of view.

    I can’t imagine that this would stop anyone who wants to play a wizard from playing a wizard. After all it never has in the past. Wizards ultimately have more range and versatility than clerics. Having clerics learn new spells as wizards has narrowed the distance between the classes instead of widening it. I think there’s still room for the wizard.

    Spell Lists

    Expanding the spell lists would require a lot of work, but it’s work that I’ve already done. I’ve done it more than once actually. We’re not talking about adding any extra domains, just adding spells to existing domains. Right now I can refer to Graham’s spell filter (which was created with the old house rules in mind) select the Fire domain and get a list of all the fire spells.

    I’m going to be adding Pathfinder spells from Ultimate Magic, Ultimate Combat and the Advanced Player’s Guide to this list anyway. Tagging a spell as belonging to a particular domain is no extra work at all. Or maybe it’s no work. Maybe we say that the domains are only expanded with Core Rules spells and nothing else. I’d be cool with that.

    Then there’s the issue of spell level. Cleric versions of wizard or druid spells tend to be a higher level. Now, they’re not in the PDF above, but they certainly could be. I’d be happy with disinegrate being a 7th level spell for clerics and a 6th level spell for wizards. Would that mollify things?

    All that’s required is the creation of a Deity Domain for each god… which is two powers. Deity Domains don’t even need specific spells if there aren’t any to hand. So I’ll need a deity domain for Helian, Azygous, Domordis, and a scattering of generic D&D gods. That can all be done fairly quickly. It’s not really going to take that long.

    Archetypes are little more effort than that. Simply a change to the way Channel Energy works and job done for more of them.

    And then the benefits of the Domain system are plain. You play a cleric of Moradin and you get three domains. One of them is the Moradin domain, and the other two are ready made in the existing rules.

    This isn’t the situation we had before with each cleric requiring a unique spell lists. It’s much less effort.

    I do take your point, Daniel, that moving into house rules like this removes the framework of certainty you have when approaching a cleric… but as long as there are rules in place to shore this up then it it doesn’t have to be a problem. The problem in the past was always inventing different religions and faiths without the rules guidance to fall back on. But we’d have that now.

    Domain Powers

    I didn’t mean to imply that cleric gets all his domain powers at level one. Obviously that isnt’ the case. Under the rules as written they’d get two at level one and another two between levels six and eight. Under this proposed version of the cleric he’d get one domain power at level one, then another every four levels until he has six at level twenty. Which is a more staggered release.

    Some cleric abilities are powerful. Immunity to fire, fly at will…. they’re not things you’d see in the rules. But they’ve been in Iourn for a long time, and I’m not going to change them. There’s too much history there. Plus I don’t see how the cleric powers are any more destabilising at higher levels than they are at lower ones. If anything I’d have thought they would be lost in the general silliness of high level third edition play. Also Daniel’s cleric doesn’t avoid these powers at all. The Deity Domain is still there.

    Is having six domain powers instead of four too powerful? I don’t think it is. The proposed cleric doesn’t eclipse the published rules in terms of number of domain powers until level 16. By then look at all the stuff that’s going on with other classes. Compare the proposed cleric to the druid for example.

    Skills

    Domains can grant additional skills to a skill list. And we could go down that route. The issue I have is that doing so would be adding new elements to existing rules.

    Personally, I think that it’s much easier for everyone to add a wholly new rule than to surreptitiously add something new to a rule that everyone thinks they already know.

    So I could say that anyone with the War domain can have Ride as a class skill. Or I could leave the War domain untouched so that it appears exactly as it is the book and enter the information into a new Archetype. Players will know that they have to consult an archetype and therefore they’ll only need to look in one place to know they have Ride as a class skill.

    As archetypes exist anyway…. I think that makes it easier. You may disagree.

    *********************

    Thank you for your comments. It was always going to be tough to move the cleric as we have been playing it into the core Pathfinder rules. I’m fighting my corner here, but I’m trying to be open to different ways of doing things.

    The cleric is the only class that I intend to scrutinise to this degree. Sure, there’s a couple of things with the wizard and the druid I’d like your opinion on, but only the cleric really gets my goat.

    This isn’t about power creep, it’s just about creating a base cleric that we can live with and that doesn’t contradict what’s gone before. Once we’ve done that, we won’t need to make any changes every again. Ever.

  7. My Spells description was changed to accommodate my version of spontaneous casting. I think it stands up, but you might argue it created a slight increase in power, although may be counterbalanced by the having to learn spells that we’re looking at for Clerics.

    I didn’t eject Neil’s Immunity to Fire power at level 1, although I share Marc’s concern that it is way beyond the scope of the Pathfinder power scale. I’d prefer resistance that builds up. Does it destroy the story to change it to that?

  8. I don’t know…. maybe it doesn’t destroy the story. Clerics of Fire have resistance to fire that builds as they gain levels… but always have immunity during the full moon.

    That *could* work…..

    Your opinion on that, Steve?

  9. I think certain powers have to be toned down. Fly at will from level 1? Much too good. The [url=http://www.d20pfsrd.com/classes/base-classes/witch]Witch’s Flight hex[/url] is more appropriate. Has there been any event that has happened in the campaign with an air priest which cannot be explained by a power such as this or the spells fly/overland flight?

    I wouldn’t propose excising channel energy from the game. Just from Moon Priests who are getting their extra domain instead. Do all Clerics need three domains [i]and[/i] channel energy? It’s too much. Other clerics get it or can have an archetype that replaces it. Let’s not forget Moon Priests are set apart from other faiths by the nature of their gods. Why shouldn’t it be standard for other Clerics to have it and not for Moon Clerics?

    I still think my version of spontaneous casting does what you want it to do. It provides a short, thematically appropriate list of spells to convert, giving the Cleric flexibility in his spell choice. And it works for every Cleric out there.

    With three domains and the standard spell list, surely a Cleric will have enough thematic spells to suit everything they need? The Calafax domain, Fire domain and Arson domain can provide plenty of fire spells. Flame strike etc are already on the list. (And we don’t want to make Clerics better with fire, resurrection or scrying than Druids, do we?)

  10. Gah! Post eaten.

    In short –

    Those very powerful abilities need toning down. The witch’s flight hex or elementalist wizard’s fire resistance would be templates (look them up). Look at events in the campaign and see if these changes would invalidate them.

    Channel energy is unnecessary for moon clerics but should be the starting point for other clerics unless they have an archetype that takes it away. It’s still part of the game.

    My version of spontaneous casting does what you want – flexibility in spell memorisation but only from a very short, thematically linked list.

    A Cleric with the Calafax, Fire and Arson domains (as well as all the spells on the Cleric list) has loads of fire spells. Surely enough?

  11. Is fire immunity really that powerful? How many times has Nicos been hit with fire in the many years that we have been playing? I can think of the Dai Caled adventure and when he wrestled with Tarrashar in a swimming pool of lava, but no others spring to mind. I don’t think it is in the same league as flight at will or the death priests ‘ear that hears all’.

    That said, in the original rules the fire immunity didn’t exist all of the time anyway. When the moon was neither full nor dark (2/3rds of the time) they had fire resistance 10 in the day time and not immunity.

    So to me it seems more than reasonable to have fire resistance that is level dependant. Perhaps keep immunity to spells the cleric has cast himself. Otherwise, I fear we will see an end to point-blank fireballs and everybody loves point-blank fireballs.

  12. I had forgotten that the rules used to make a distinction between daylight and night-time hours.

    I don’t think the granted powers of the Moon Clerics have really had a big impact on the game. I can’t remember an instance where Nicos’s fire immunity or Jonus’s ability to fly at will has overshadowed the game. Maybe I’m misremembering, but nothing springs to mind.

    Steve: I’m glad you posted. If you could live with a Nicos who has toned down fire resistance, then I think I can.

    I’ll have another think and see if I can something that keeps the Iourn clerics more in the Pathfinder rules.

    I feel as though we’re getting somewhere!

  13. Working on another version of the cleric now…. Would like a quick opinion on a couple of things:

    Class Skills

    A Bombastic cleric should have Bluff and Disguise as class skills, but may not necessarily want to select the Trickery domain. How do we make additional or alternative class skills available to different faiths without using Archetypes, Domains, Feats or Traits?

    What if we just say up front that some or all of the cleric’s class skills are dependent upon a cleric’s god or church?

    For example, in the general description of the Cleric we could just say that the cleric’s class skills are Craft, Diplomacy, Heal, Knowledge (Religion), Linguistics, Profession, Sense Motive, Spellcraft and five other skills depending on his faith.

    Then in the table that lists each god, and which priesthoods or domains he grants access to, we also have a column for class skills?

    Good idea or too fiddly?

    Feats

    How would you feel about feats being used as a means to give clerics extra powers?

    What if there was a feat that said: “Choose a subdomain that is associated with one of your domains. You gain the power from that subdomain in addition to your own domain powers.”

    The text of the subdomain power would be exactly the same as the printed rules… so nothing too powerful. Could this be a way to go or is it too excessive?

    Spells

    How do we feel about spells in the generic Cleric list that are only available to certain gods or churches? I’m not talking about domains here, I’m talking about the generic cleric list?

    Say there was a spell called “Calafax’s Exploding Balls of Firey Death”. Could we have that as a generic cleric spell, but only make it available to clerics of Calafax? It’s a second edition sort of solution, but does it stay within the Pathfinder rules?

  14. Spontaneous Casting: Should be healing spells only for me. That way Nicos can fill all his slots with firey death spells without having to worry if he has enough healing.

    Class Skills: I strongly agree. Perhaps you should have a default five in case you have to create a Cleric of some new / obscure faith on the fly.

    Feats: I am less keen on this. The domain powers almost all seem too powerful for a single feat to me.

    Spells: Why not just have the firey death spell in the Calafax domain spell list?

  15. Hi Steve,

    I’m just exploring some options to recreate the Iourn clerics without changing as many rules, or adding additional material. It may not be possible, but I’m try to take everything that Marc and Daniel have said on board.

    To address your questions in reverse order….

    If we keep domains as they are (and I mean exactly as they are printed) then I can’t add any extra spells into the domain. There can be only nine. However, I can add as many spells as I like to the generic cleric list. The trick would be only making those spells available to a clerics of fire. We could even do it with existing spells… spells like elemental body or delayed blast fireball could be available to clerics but only certain clerics.

    It sounds fiddlesome but Graham’s spell filter will make it very easy to identify these spells. And we’d have the advantage of the published text of the domains not changing at all.

    Staying with domains, if we keep the published rules then clerics only have two domains. This may not be enough to present all the relevent powers for clerics… which is why I’m exploring using feats. You may be right in that these powers are too much for feats.

    Hopefully, it’ll be a non-issue. Iourn clerics have many powers, but few signature powers I would argue. Some abilities can be turned into spells, and we always have the option of creating new subdomains. I may not need to use feats at all.

    I think this approach would work better for class skills. Hopefully I wouldn’t have to create clerics on the fly, but if I did then there’s always the generic list of class skills as presented in the book.

    We may differ a little on spontaneous casting as I think Daniel’s idea of allowing the spontaneous casting of domain spells could work very well. However, you would still have access to the Channel Energy class feature (or a fire-based version there-of) which would give you on demand healing. Clerics of Fire were never great healers….

    But even this change may be too much. I’ll think on how this affects the game as a whole. Don’t forget that under the way clerics gain spells you would still have to choose to specifically learn cure spells. So being able to spontaneously cast them doesn’t necessarily mean that you have any to cast!

  16. I must admit – I am with Daniel over switching channel energy for an extra domain for the moon priest archetype. Priests of the moon faiths couldn’t ever do it previously so it makes sense to ditch it for the plethora of spells and powers that we had previously. I know that various feats rely on having channel energy as a pre-requisite but in all honesty they don’t really exite me. I would say it would be greatly preferable to have the extra domain with spells and powers that have turned up many times in the past, than to pull ‘channel energy’ out of the air and get access to feats that I don’t really want.

    I guess with the spontaneous casting it will make little difference whether healing spells are chosen and destructive evocations are spontaneous or vice versa. I just know that heal and mass heal are astonishingly useful and almost every cleric will choose them – probably more than once. It just seems to make more sense to me to have the dull but essential spells as spontaneous and a memorised list full of cool spells than the other way around.

    If the limit of 9 spells in a domain is the only reason to have church specific spells in the main list, I don’t really see the point. The end result will be exactly the same except that instead of lots of domain spells you will have lots of pseudo-domain spells. Why not just have more domain spells if this is the intention, rather than try to disguise them as something else? Given that each individual Cleric will now cast spells like a Wizard and will have far fewer spells to choose from, I really don’t think this will unbalance things.

    I would say to Dr Brown that Wizards have a hell of a lot going for them. Cortez was significantly more versatile and effective than Nicos has ever been. The Wizard spell list is just so diverse. With the possible exception of Zephyre, a lack of diversity in the cleric lists stops a Cleric (even under these new suggestions) from matching a Wizard in most scenarios.

  17. The thing is… if we accept that the Moon God powers don’t have to be exactly the same as they were before (e.g. we could have a growing fire resistance for Calafax clerics instead of immediate immunity) then I’m not sure we need a third domain.

    The existing rules already provide four domain powers, and I don’t think that any of the moon clerics that I created have more than four signature powers. Yes, they may have more than four powers but chances are the bottom of the list are powers you can’t remember or never used.

    What we can do is create new subdomains that allow you to switch out one power from an existing domain for another one. So if there isn’t a domain power that allows you to fly we can create a new domain called Windborn (or something equally pretentious) and tether it to the Air domain for clerics of Zephyre. We could even make it so that only clerics of Zephyre have access to such a subdomain.

    Any lesser used powers that might fall between the cracks (like Mastery of Flame) could be reinvented as spells instead. In that way I think we have the cleric’s granted powers covered without changing any of the rules at all.

    I agree there is no difference in adding additional church-specific spells into the domain lists or the cleric list. The game would run in exactly the same way. But by inflating the cleric list, I’m not changing any rules. Domains stand as they are. However, this approach isn’t my preference.

    I’d much rather add additional appropriate spells to the domain lists. If we do that, then domain powers couldn’t be used for spontaneous casting. However, I am coming around to the opinion that keeping spontaneous casting unchanged and having it only apply to cure or inflict spells might be in our interest.

    Which just leaves Channel Energy.

    The reason I want to keep it is not because I think it’s the greatest cleric mechanic ever…. it’s just something that all clerics have in the base Pathfinder rules. So, if we’re creating a functional base-cleric for the game that can potentially encompass all faiths (including the moon faiths) then all the basic elements need to be there.

    I feel that if I replace it with something else for the moon clerics, then I need to offer the same degree of customisation to all other faiths. And I’d rather not.

    Cleric archetypes that have already been published by Pathfinder don’t tend to be faith-specific. They are more general background types that are layered on your character… archetypes like Clositered Cleric, Separatist, or Theologian (all in Ultimate Magic) could apply to any cleric of any religion. I’d rather keep the intent of the rules and not state that a religion must take an archetype simply to take recreate the core mechanics of the cleric.

    The waxing and waning of the moons is an exception to this, as I don’t see how those rules can be implemented without an archetype. However, an archetype does work well in this context.

    And don’t forget that spells and class abilities are not the only levels of customisation open to us. There are still feats, prestige classes and templates to consider.

  18. So is the plan now to get rid of god specific domains? Its just that if I only have two domains to play with and Calafax and fire are virtually compulsory, I will lose a hell of a lot of spells. When we last played, Nicos had five major domains and one minor domain.

    Although I agree with changing the Cleric for new characters and using the pathfinder rules as written, I am beginning to think that it is just too much of a pain in the arse trying to convert long-running high level characters, without the ‘feel’ of them changing. What was wrong with v3.5 again?

  19. I think Pathfinder is a more solid and interesting take on the third edition rules than 3.5. It also has new material coming out for it, of course. But if I had to do it all again…. I probably wouldn’t have adopted the revisions to the game, or introduced any house rules.

    All I will say is that a reduced number of Domains shouldn’t drastically reduce the number of spells Nicos has…. if it reduces them at all. There are many spells on the generic cleric list as well, and these would plug most of the gaps.

    I have some new ideas for the cleric, but it’ll take a few days to get them down in a coherent form. I feel as though we could be on the verge of solving this. The key (I think) is presenting a base cleric that is as close to the published rules as possible, and then offering players as many options as possible.

    For example: I see that we could have a normal base cleric that has the following features/changes:

    – Two domains
    – Expanded list of domain spells
    – Spontaneous casting of cure/inflict spells
    – Channel Energy (flavoured for each god)

    That base cleric would be enough for someone wanting to play a moon priest or any other god. But then we could introduce an archetype that lets you switch out Channel Energy for a third domain. It would be the exception rather than the rule, and you might consider that as a better option for Nicos.

    However, we wouldn’t have a “deity domain” – instead we’d keep within the domains as published and (as I said) invent subdomains to introduce the essential moon god powers that aren’t otherwise defined.

    A “Lunar Priest” archetype would be applied to all moon priests to introduce the mechanics of the moons influencing powers and spellcasting. And this is where we’re most able to mimic the old granted powers.

    For example, Fire Resistance is granted by the Fire domain. Starts at 0, rises to 10 at 6th level, 20 at 12th level and immunity at 20th level. We keep that unchanged, but say in the full moon the cleric becomes immune to fire, and during the dark of the moon the resistance moves back one step.

    I reckon that there’s also room for prestige classes to ramp up the granted power aspect of the general clergy.

    As I said, I’m not really being very coherent at the moment. It’s taking me longer than a thought to get all this on paper.

  20. I guess with the proposals, counter-proposals and revisions I was getting a bit lost as to where we were with it.

    My concerns about the spells though will probably be an even bigger problem for Jonus who had six major domains, and I think healing will be the only one that is absorbed into the main list. Of Nicos’s five major domains healing and rebirth have both more or less been absorbed into the main list.

    I won’t try and think about what the changes mean for Nicos then until the next version of the cleric is up in print.

  21. If there aren’t going to be god specific domains then I can see why you would have god specific spells in the general list. I noticed that there are race specific Cleric spells in the advanced race guide, so I don’t see why you couldn’t also have faith specific spells as well.

  22. I know I’m probably goign to be shouted at….

    But Why do anything but the BAREST Minimum to the published rules to maintain the story arc and leave everything ELSE well enough alone.

    Is it just me – or can you not just replace the “Deities” published in the books with your Moon Gods and then be done with it.

    Keep the format of the moon gods identical to the published rules.

    I’m sure i’m over-simplfying it….

  23. Well, I’m not going to shout at you Jon! If I’m honest I did consider this somewhere inbetween writing versions 2 and 3 of the New Deal cleric. It would be the simplest answer, but in the end I thought it was worth going for something more in keeping with what we had before – for the sake of the history and the established continuity of the game.

    I think what I came up with isn’t too dissimilar to the published cleric, while at the same time having enough options to recreate the old clerics within the rules. Far more work than I hoped it would be, but it’s all done now. Assuming everyone finds the latest version of the cleric acceptable!

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