In my efforts to update more often, I’ve decided to try and add more D&D stuff to what I post here. So, in honor of what kinda/used to be my D&D night I will try to post something game related every Tuesday. Why the heck do we capitalize days? I mean… Wait, nevermind. That doesn’t have anything to do with Dungeons and/or Dragons. I off and on work on my own houserules for the main setting I use. Which is a post-post-post-apocalyptic fantasy world that is entirely underground. About halfway to Vance’s Dying Earth series, if that means anything to you. Mostly I think up cool ways to handle magic and stuff.
Today, I want to share the cool idea I had for Cleric magic.
Now, this might not be entirely put together. A good number of my notes I wrote down while thinking this up was in a notebook I lost while in Florida. Grr. I really regret losing that notebook. It didn’t have anything real important in it, but it was 2/3rds full of just random notes and thoughts for about a year in it. Anyway! Clerics are always tricky to do in a D&D game. One of the common goals is to have them be someone who uses magic but distinct from the actual Magic-User (Wizard). Most game systems, including most versions of D&D just use the same spellcasting with slight tweaks for both. In addition I’ve been working off the idea that each class should have one single mechanic/skill/power that no other class has. Wizard has spellcasting (which is going to be it’s own post as I have a new way of doing that too), so Clerics shouldn’t have any actual spells. So here’s what I’ve got so far. I really do hope to be able to try this out someday. Once again been thinking I might even try to do an online game just because I want to do the Dungeon Master thing.
Two bits of context. One, using too much magic in this setting mutates you. So all the magic rules will have Mystic Mutation rules. Refers to another d12 table I’ve got written up elsewhere for different parts of the body/mind. The key part is most people don’t want to be around someone mutated by magic and more importantly having too many Mystic Mutations is a very bad thing from the Player’s perspective. The second bit of context is that magic rolls for casting spells or other magic powers/skills are done with a d8, because physical skills (pickpocket, climb, etc) are done with a d6 in the version of old-school D&D I’ve been using as a foundation.
Cleric class for Exiled Future
Design goals: To have a faith-based magic user who works dramatically differently from a knowledge-based magic user (a Wizard). Later addition: have Cleric magic be somewhat contagious in that if you are part of the faith it is more powerful and if you aren’t it might start to change you.
Cleric Ability – Miracles
Each Cleric PC has pool of d8s (eight-sided dice) equal to their level. 1st level Cleric has 1d8, 5th level has 5d8, and so on. When praying for a Miracle the PC can use any number of these dice. 1st level Cleric can only use one, the 5th level Cleric can use 1d8 or 2d8 or 5d8. Each die rolled is for a single target of the Miracle. So that 1st level Cleric can only use a Miracle on a single person, whereas the 5th level Cleric can use a miracle on up to five people at once. When however many dice are rolled they are counted separate. If a d8 comes up as a 1, the Miracle (at least for that target) fails and the die is removed from the Cleric’s d8 pool. If the result on the die is 2-7 the result is the Miracle works (for that target) and the die remains in the pool. If the result is an 8 (or higher with modifiers) an extra person can be affected by that Miracle and the Cleric gains a Mystic Mutation. Or instead of gaining the Mystic Mutation himself, the Cleric can instead give it to the target of the Miracle if they have fewer Mystic Mutations than the Cleric does. Each time the Cleric has a chance to spread the Miracle to a new target he can choose to not do it and keep the die. Each new target the Cleric rolls d8 to see if it works and same results as above. The d8s for extra targets are not added to the d8 pool, but if a 1 is rolled the Miracle fails on that most recent target and the Cleric loses a die from their d8 pool.
Example: Frank the Cleric uses a protective Miracle on Sam the Fighter and gets a 8 on the d8 roll. This means, first, that Frank the Cleric can either gain a new Mystic Mutation himself or give Sam the Fighter a new one. Either way Frank the Cleric can now roll another d8 to spread the protective Miracle to Ken the Thief. If that second roll gets an 8, once again the Cleric can get a new Mystic Mutation himself or give Ken the Thief one. Frank the Cleric can now pick a third target, or just keep the Miracle on those two and avoid the risk of losing a d8.
Miracles used on targets that have Mystic Mutations of the same power and faith as the Cleric add a +1 per mutation to the d8 roll to affect them. Other modifiers might be prayer, holy water, religious artifacts. Details to be determined later. A single Mystic Mutation of the same power and faith of the Cleric means the Miracle is guaranteed to work, but doubles the chance of Mystic Mutation. Cleric based Mystic Mutations can affect other types of mutations. If the target of a Miracle has Mystic Mutations of other powers, they are first changed to the Cleric’s faith and power before new mutations are added. Mutations can also be removed, but that isn’t an easy thing.
Types of Miracles: (rough outlines for now)
Command – Cleric channels the power of their god into a single word. Flee, Burn, Halt, etc.
Blessing – Cleric channels the power of their god to help someone. Limited to a single active option. Attacking, picking locks, climbing, etc. Can be maintained as long as the Cleric concentrates and chants. No other Miracles or complex actions (fighting, swimming, climbing) can be performed by the Cleric. However, the Cleric can use the exact same Miracle on more targets.
Abjuration – Cleric channels the power of their god to protect someone. Once again can last as long as the Cleric maintains it. Protects against a single source of danger. Weapons, undead, fire, sound, etc.
Each faith/Cleric should have a limited number of each type of Miracle they can perform. This should be set by the DM when a Cleric character is created with a new god and/or faith. Average should be two of each. Some faiths might have more of one type than another, but it should total up to 6-8 total and each type should have a minimum of one Miracle.
I grabbed bits and pieces of this from two or three old-school D&D blogs I follow from time to time. The part that’s all mine is the idea of Clerical magic as, well, as infection. Cleric magic works best in a group who all worship the same god and have Mystic Mutations granted by that god. The more you use Cleric magic, the more it affects you and those you use it on. Which in turns makes it even more powerful. Clerics and the faithful would consider the mutations a blessing rather than hideous. The problem comes that when a Cleric (or anyone really) gains nine Mystic Mutations they become an avatar of their god’s power. No longer a mortal, they are called to deal with a higher level of matters and become a NPC that goes off-screen to handle things for their god. Most importantly, all free will is removed and they become a powerful servant of the faith with no other considerations in mind. So… Cool for the Cleric if they are super-faithful, but from a Player perspective that is basically death.
Another idea that I ran across while doing this was the idea that every class should have a path to immortality. Wizards can become liches (powerful immortal undead). I ran across a blogpost about coming up with ideas for each class to eventually become immortal, but in a different fashion. This is fairly simple for a Cleric. If they become a powerful and respected Cleric, defender and valued servant of their god they can ascend to become a free willed version of their god’s avatar. Nine mutations and still a Player Character. This would require a huge task, like converting an entire race or kingdom to the worship of their god. Or some other equal in magnitude accomplishment for a Cleric to be granted this honor.
My idea for Thief immortality is pretty cool too. Is a bit more conceptual though. I’ll be putting that up on another Tuesday eventually.