Go to the Pathfinder: The New Deal index
In our first gripping instalment of the New Deal cleric, I proposed some new archetypes to force the heavily house-ruled class into the Pathfinder rules as written. In the second instalment new versions of the cleric were unveiled. Now the saga continues… let’s hope it’s a trilogy.
What I’ve tried to do this time is create a base cleric class that can be used for any of the faiths in the campaign world, but that is also much closer to the published rules than anything I’ve presented before. I’ve listened to all the comments that you’ve made – I can’t implement all of them as some are exact opposites – and hope that I’ve created enough options that this is a solution everyone will be able to accept. I think I’ve been a bit precious about the cleric in the past, so I’ve toned down many of the signature powers. Hopefully we now have something that stands on an equal footing with the other base classes – or as equal as you can get in third edition.
The New Deal Cleric
I’ve been very thorough at working out how these new rules affect Iourn. Therefore, I’ve expanded the material I’ve looked at from clerics of Calafax to include the rest of the Moon Gods and also the common deities of Lareth. The Prophet and Loss campaign is restarting next year, after all. As a result of this, the accompanying PDF is quite a hefty document with revised details of the cleric class as well as new spells, new archetypes, new domains, new subdomains and revised powers.
All the rules material is presented in the PDF below. What follows in this blog post is a quick summary of the changes (to save you reading the whole document), and then a quick critique of the changes I’ve made.
I’m quickly going to go through the way this cleric differs from the published cleric as well as the versions of the new deal cleric that we’ve seen before. Hopefully this is a useful summary. You cna refer to the PDF for the full text.
Class Skills: All clerics have Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Heal (Wis), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Linguistics (Int), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), and Spellcraft (Int) as class skills. They then get five additional class skills depending on the deity they worship or the church they belong to. This is the easiest way of enabling customisation of the cleric’s available skills without adding lots of additional rules to domains. I’m keen to keep domains largely as they are printed.
Aura and Alignment: The rules now downplay the importance of alignment. Clerics are not required to have an alignment within one step of their deity. The important thing is that they uphold the tenets of their faith. An incompatible alignment may make that very difficult or impossible. Likewise clerics decide whether they want to know and cast spells of an opposed alignment. It’s up to them if they want to deal with the consequences. This is largely the way alignment has always been viewed on Iourn and doesn’t really make much mechanical difference to the game.
Gaining Spells: The cleric uses the same rules as the wizard when calculating the number of spells a cleric knows, and the ways in which new spells are gained. We’ve all agreed that this is a desirable house rule, as less is definitely more when it comes to preparing spells. However, it is a reduction in the utility of the published cleric. To make up for this, to maintain greater continuity with previous adventures, and to help distinguish between clerics of different faiths the lists of domain spells have been greatly increased.
Domain Spells: You’ve seen this rule in my previous versions of the new deal cleric, and I know that not every one is on board about this. The new rules allow for thematically appropriate spells from elsewhere in the Core Rules (and only the Core Rules at present) to be added to the list of domain spells. However, this time I haven’t altered the level of existing domain spells, and where I’ve added a spell from outside the cleric list I have (mostly) increased the level of the spell by one. Additionally, I’ve removed the domain slot from spell preparation, and allowed all domain spells to be prepared in any approrpriate spell slot. This gets around the issue of a fire cleric only being able to prepare one fireball per day. It also means that clerics are far more likely to have a spell list made up of spells that truly reflect the portfolio of their deity.
Domains: Clerics gain two domains at first level as in the published rules. I’ve done away with the concept of the Deity Domain entirely. The rules for domain powers are unchanged.
Subdomains: I’ve incorporated the rules explaining what subdomains are into the main cleric rules. Because of the expansion of the domain spell lists, subdomains no longer carry any alternative spells. They are simply a source of alternative domain powers.
Altered Powers: I’ve modified five domain powers (which I thought was pretty restrained). The Electricity Resistance, Cold Resistance, Fire Resistance and Acid Resistance powers (of the Air, Water, Fire and Earth domains respectively) have been tweaked. Clerics of levels 1-5 now gain Resist 5 to the energy type. In the published rules the ability didn’t kick in until 6th level, when the cleric gained Resist 10. It’s important to me that Moon Priests still retain some energy resistance from first level. This level of resistance isn’t unusual for first level characters. Additionally the Sudden Shift power from the Deception subdomain was rewritten because it depended too heavily on a battlegrid to function.
Channel Energy: All clerics have the channel energy class feature. However, the class feature is flavoured by the god the cleric worships. The base rules for channel energy are included in the cleric description, while I’ve added an additional section to describe the version that is used by clerics of each faith. Using the faith-specific version of channel energy is not optional.
Variant Channel Energy: I’ve represented the rules for variant channel energy in the document, tweaking it slightly to make clear that these rules are not optional and clerics must take the variant of this ability if their god has one. For the most part I’ve taken the rules exactly as presented in Ultimate Magic. Terranor, Calafax, Zephyre and Sharash are special cases. Their versions of channel energy don’t follow this model. However… there are guidelines in Ultimate Magic for creating your own channel energy variants – and one of the examples they use is a fire cleric who inflicts fire damage with his chanelling. I therefore think all the powers are within the spirit of the rules that Paizo intended.
Spontaneous Casting: In practice this is exactly the same as the published rules: clerics can swap out any prepared spell for a cure or inflict spell of the same level – depending on the choice they made at first level. The only proviso is that (like the channel energy feature) it is the deity’s alignment, and not the cleric’s that defines which type of spontaneous casting the cleric uses. Also: because of the way that clerics now gains spells the eight cure spells (or the eight inflict spells) are added to the cleric’s list of known spells in addition to any other choices she may make.
New Rules Elements
The above are changes to existing rules. What follows are a list of the new rules elements I have included to help customise your cleric and make it function more like the clerics we are used to seeing on Iourn.
New Domain: I’ve created one new domain – the Pestilence domain. I felt that it was an element of a god’s portfolio that couldn’t adequatedly be reproduced with the current material. It is based on the Pestilence domain that was already published in Complete Divine (2004). The domain spells for the Pestilence domain come from the Core Rules, the Advanced Player’s Guide, Ultimate Combat and Ultimate Magic. It’s the only domain that’s had this thorough treatment so far. Of the domain powers: Plaguedog is taken directly from the third edition rules, and I think is fine. Cloak of Vermin is based on the Swarm Skin spell and the Swarm Form ability of the Pathfinder Spherewalker prestige class.
New Subdomains: The Moon Priests had a number of signature abilities that don’t appear in the published list of domain powers. Therefore I’ve invented eight new subdomains that hopefully plug these gaps. The Aquanaut, Interrogation, Pyre, Stone Voyager, Sweet Air, Terranite, Warbound and Windborn subdomains reintroduce these signature powers into the game. Although I have toned them down for Pathfinder. The beauty of this approach is that the subdomains can only be available to clerics of certain deities, meaning that no cleric outside the churches of Zephyre can fly in quite the same way as Jonus can.
New Spells: Otyugh Swarm is a spell form Complete Divine (2004) that appeared in the list of Pestilence domain spells. It’s a nice high-level spell for Pestilential clerics, and steps into Pathfinder seamlessly. Wake of Sharrash, Mastery of Flame, Unchaining the Flame, and Water Form are spells that were granted powers in the past. I didn’t think they were iconic enough to create their own subdomain around them, so I converted them into spells instead. See if you think they capture the intent of the original. They are also designed to only be available to gods of a particular deity in much the same way that some spells in Pathfinder can only be cast by certian races.
New Archetypes: I’ve tried to keep the number of new archetypes to a minimum. Lunar Priest is a required archetype for any priest of a Moon God. It’s a cost-neutral archetype that adds the rules for the cycles of the moons affecting the cleric’s powers and spellcasting prowess. As there’s no deity domain in the game any more, the Moon affects all domain powers. Therefore each domain and subdomain power that a moon priest could conceivably possess now has a “diminished” and “enhanced” version. A lot of work, but it’s done now. I’ve kept the simplification that the dark of the moon and the full moon act upon the cleric equally during the day and at night. It’s slightly less evocative but mechanically easier. However, we could say that the cleric functions normally during the day, is diminished at night during the dark of the moon, and enhanced at night during the full moon. That might be an easy compromise.
The second new archetype is Divine Prodigy, and it’s there for players who really want to recapture the diversity of the granted powers clerics used to have. Clerics with this archetype lose the Channel Energy and Spontaneous Casting class features in return for two additional domains (one at 1st level, and one at 11th), or the ability to choose a subdomain power in addition to the two normal domain powers. This might be a more appropriate choice for Nicos or for Jonus. I didn’t want to front-load the cleric with these options – I wanted to present a cleric that’s really close to the book rules – but the option is now there if you want it.
The cleric’s list of class skills is now closely tied to his church. The cleric’s choice of spells is broader and more thematic, but the number of spells he actually knows is reduced. Aside from those changes, this is the Cleric exactly as its published. Yes, we’re relying on the rules for Subdomains from the Advanced Player’s Guide, and the rules for variant chanelling from Ultimate Magic… but this is all Pathfinder material. The new rules and archetypes I’ve added are all solidly based on Pathfinder principles (I hope).
This is a long way from how I envisioned the cleric when I started this process: which is probably a good thing. The granted powers are now toned down to sensible levels, all of the game elements that are presented in the published rules are available, and players who want more powers at the expense of the new Pathfinder abilities can have them.
I think I’ve got this right. Now prove me wrong.