Monday, October 21, 2019

Blessed of G_d (Class: Cleric)

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 The undead are a constant threat; a sword of Damocles hanging over the civilized world. When the proper funeral rituals are not performed on a new corpse it sometimes rises as a monster the peasants call "Unburied". Parties of corpse-hunters patrol city streets by night, while the forests are full of ravaged woodcutters, and the hills are dense with cabinfuls of starving wights. The Drowned (born of lost sailors) and the Trapped (born of lost miners) are even more dangerous, but the common Unburied are more than enough to overwhelm small settlements.

 The Heretic, Witch and Warlock must also be dealt with. These foes of civilization and Law are more cunning than any walking corpse, and those who hunt them must be more cunning still. The forces of Chaos can be found at all levels of society, in every city, working at every profession, and taking any form which might give them an advantage.

 Clearly, then, there is justification for an Order empowered against the forces of the night. Agents of this Order would be given broad warrant to accomplish their goals. If you come across a zombie attacking a villager, or a noble family having an orgy with a herd of goats, you can hardly wait around for some bureaucrat to rubber-stamp a form. Immediate action is called for. These paladins are not subject to secular regulation; their pursuit of Law and Order (bom bom) transcends worldly borders.
 That doesn't mean that they don't have rules of their own to follow.

Bits of fifteenth-century medical woodcuts.

Cleric Errant

 The Church recognizes dozens of different secular and regular factions within itself. Some of these are cloistered, others only operate in a specific region, others accept very specific persons. But the two which almost everyone will be familiar with are the orders of wandering clerics: the White Masks and the Black Masks.

 The White Masks are the largest sect of religious. Members of this sect wear black robes and the eponymous white masks depicting a child's face, to remind the world of the importance of innocence and humility.
Tenets of the White Masks (Descending order of importance).
  1. Do not, through action or inaction, allow any innocent to come to harm. Ignore all other tenets if they would interfere with this, your most important goal.
  2. Do not under any circumstances initiate violence. You may use an appropriate level of force to dissuade others who have initiated violence against you, and you may take any necessary steps to protect the innocent, but you must never start a fight. If your actions will lead to someone else initiating violence you must immediately desist, unless doing so would allow an innocent to come to harm or would defy an order from a superior.
  3. Obey your superiors in the Church, unless this would violate the first tenet.
  4. Do not consume or touch a corpse, whether human or animal, except when performing funeral rites or when necessary to protect an innocent.
  5. Do not use or carry bladed implements, unless failing to do so would violate any other tenet.

 As a rule of thumb, an "innocent" is anyone with less than 1HD who isn't trying to fight. "Initating" violence means to cause initiatives to be rolled, to cast a damaging spell or make an attack against someone who has not tried to hurt you or an innocent. Rations made from meat count as animal corpses. Arrows are bladed implements. Shovels are bladed implements, but digging a grave is a valid reason to carry one.

 The other major faction is the Black Masks. Members of this sect wear white robes and the eponymous black masks depicting a skull, to remind the world of its mortality and of the surety of Judgment.
Tenets of the Black Masks (Descending order of importance).
  1. Do not, through action or inaction, allow any guilty person to escape justice. Ignore all other tenets if they would interfere with this, your most important goal.
  2. Do not under any circumstances intentionally deceive, mislead or prevaricate, with spoken word, written word or gesture. You are not required to answer questions, you are permitted to say "I don't want to answer" or "I shouldn't say" or "Stop talking", but you must not lie. You should go out of your way to correct misunderstandings that you have caused, unless doing so would lead to a guilty person escaping justice.
  3. Distrust every other member of every other hierarchy. Anyone could be a spy, a traitor or an imposter. Trust no one.
  4. Do not carry any more money than you need, any more food than you need, or any equipment that you do not use. If you have any excess wealth it must be donated to the Church immediately, unless you have good reason to suspect that doing so would violate another tenet.
  5. Be brusque and avoid banal politeness, unless offering disrespect would violate another tenet.

 As a rule of thumb, "escaping justice" means to be able and willing to repeat whatever crimes got you in trouble in the first place. Execution is hard to escape, but lesser penalties may be applied. If an execution would be wildly inappropriate then they probably don't count as a "guilty person". Wealth donated to the church counts for full XP. "Banal politeness" really depends on the situation.

 These tenets are widely known. Even the meanest beggar understands that a White Mask cleric won't respond to verbal harassment, and every bandit in the world knows that a Black Mask won't lie. With that established, here is the class:

Class: Cleric

Starting Items: A porcelain mask which indicates your order (can be remade by a craftsman for 10gp), robes from the same order, staff, and a mace or shortsword (light weapons). You cannot fumble with staves, maces or shortswords. You cannot wear medium or heavy armor unless you have special training or a template from a martial class.
Skills: 1. Bookkeeping, 2. Public Speaking, 3. Music.

  • A Ordained, +1 MD
  • B Prayer, +1 MD
  • C Friends with an Angel, +1 MD
  • D Monsignor, +1 MD
You are an ordained member of the Church, either a White Mask or a Black Mask. Ordination is a concept which exists in-universe; most non-player characters know what you are and consider you someone reasonably competent and trustworthy.
You know two spells from your Spell List, which you determine by rolling a d6 and a d8.

Once per day, unnerved, unbalanced and at the end of your rope, you can beg for a divine favour. You have a 1-in-6 chance of recieving a single Magic Die and a spell, which you are expected to cast immediately. This will usually be an appropriate spell from your list, but G_d doesn't really give a fuck about classes and could concievably grant you any spell.
Your chances go up by 1-in-6 if your MD are completely exhausted, if you are below half health, and if you have been wearing your mask since you woke up (this stacks). If you fail the roll then G_d has deemed you unworthy of the miracle, and you can not ask again today.
You also learn a third spell from your list, which you determine by rolling a d10.

Friends with an Angel
Choose one spell you know. While casting that spell, your dice are expended only on a result of 5 or 6.
You learn a fourth spell from your list, which you determine by rolling a d12.

Your actions have been recognized by the Church. It is likely you will be canonized upon death. If you are a member of the White Masks, you no longer answer to your superiors, and are given a few initiates of your own to take under your wing and train. If you are a member of the Black Masks, you will be assigned a high-ranking assassin who will follow you around and kill you if you fall to Chaos.
Either way, you learn two spells of your choice from your list.

Perk: If you perform your spell as part of a three-hour ritual, you can cast it with one extra Magic Die which does not count towards Mishaps or Dooms. If you have a second Cleric to assist you or are on hallowed ground, it takes only one hour.

Drawback: When you wake up in the morning you decide whether or not to put on your mask. If you choose to wear your mask you must follow each of the five tenets of your order, under pain of Mishap (in the case of tenets 3 – 5) or Doom (for tenets 1 & 2). If you choose to not wear your mask you can not cast spells, but are free to ignore tenets 2 – 5 and do not suffer any consequences for breaking them. If you put on your mask some time during the day, you can cast normally but your Dice only return on a result of 1 or 2.

  1. After performing any spell as a ritual, you can tell if the area you are in is hallowed, mundane or defiled by some Chaotic source.
  2. You can choose to have your spells accompanied by the smell of incense, a pleasant yellow glow, the sound of musical chimes or any combination of the above.
  3. You can tell how long a body has been dead by sight. This is less of a magical effect and more of a necessary skill you have been trained in.

Spell List

A cleric's spells are not wild spirits. They are the personal angelic servants of G_d and serve the clerics at His pleasure; they can not be bred or mutated against their will. Fortunately, they are on the same side as the caster and will usually be cooperative.
1. Heal
R: Touch T: an injured person D: immediate.
The target is healed for [sum] hitpoints. If you invest more dice you can choose to forgo the healing for a different benefit.
If two dice is invested, this is a Lesser Restore, and can close a flesh wound or knit a broken bone.
If three dice are invested, this is a Restore, and can repair a mangled eye or regrow a missing ear.
Four dice invested result in a Greater Restore which can reattach a recently-severed limb or regrow fingers and toes.
Five dice make this spell a Miracle, which can regrow essential organs or missing limbs, and can cure any number of diseases.
This is a very good spell, and implies a world with a very different idea of "lethal wound". Might not be appropriate for your game.
2. Bless
R: Touch T: a person, or [dice]*2 rations D: [sum] minutes.
A human target receives a Blessing. For the duration of the spell, they add [dice] to every d20 they roll. Characters have advantage on saves against poisons or diseases from blessed rations.
Generic but effective clericalism.
3. Kindle
R: touch T: a creature or object D: immediate
Target takes [sum] points of fire damage. Can only be cast immediately after hitting a target with a melee weapon. Inanimate objects are automatically hit.
Objectively worse than a Fireball, but you can cast it as part of a normal attack. Especially effective against creatures which resist normal weaponry.
4. Message
R: [dice]*5 miles T: a person you know the name of D: immediate
This spell allows you to send a message of [sum] words or fewer to a person you know. You can choose to have this happen immediately or at some point within the next 24 hours. If the target is asleep, you can choose to have the message delivered by an angel in their dream, or normally when they awake.
Crafty spell. You can send your friends at least a one-word warning from miles away. Your superiors might expect frequent updates, which might have to be relayed through several other clerics — read a bunch of old telegrams and get good at saying more with less.
5. Light
R: 10*[dice]' T: an object or a person D: [sum] minutes
The target sheds a dim ethereal light within range, and is visible for miles in the darkness or through several hundred feet of water. Evil illusions reflect the light wrong, and a trained eye can detect discrepancies.
More generic clericalism. Not as effective as a proper lantern, but certainly better than stumbling blind in the dark.
6. Turn
R: 20*[dice]' T: [sum] enemies D: up to [dice] hours.
Targets within range are compelled to flee the presence of the cleric. Intelligent creatures get a save to resist this; unintelligent undead do not. Intelligent creatures are also smart enough to take potshots at the cleric from beyond the range of the spell. If the cleric takes any damage the spell immediately ends.
If you invest three dice or more, you can destroy any number of Unburied within range in addition to the normal effects of the spell.
Different from the standard Turn Undead. Effective against anyone, but vulnerable to intelligent foes
7. Hallow
R: 30*[dice]' T: a valid square area at most 30*[dice]' to a side, or [dice] corpses D: [dice]*6 hours, or permanent.
This spell can only be performed as a ritual.
A valid area has four solid corners and something to serve as an altar. In a pinch, four piles of rocks and a big rock will do, but four corners of a room and a real altar is preferable. Rituals performed in this area only take one hour. If this spell is cast with four dice (plus the extra ritual die) then the area is permanently consecrated.
If you are targeting corpses they will not rise as Unburied, and cannot be raised by any caster of lower level than you.
 A cleric's bread and butter. Makes churches, sanctuaries, and prevents the creation of undead.
8. Hold
R: 30' T: a door, person, end of a rope or anything that makes sense. D: [sum] rounds.
The target is held in place by a supernatural force. This force is as strong as an adult human with 12 + [dice]*2 Strength, who also has a good grip and a firm place to stand.
9. Move
R: 120' T: a door, person, end of a rope or anything that makes sense. D: [sum] rounds.
The target is shoved around by a supernatural force. This force is as strong as an adult human with 10 Strength, who also has a good grip and is capable of flight.
These two are two takes on the same idea. Which one is more useful depends on the circumstance.
10. Lightning
R: 300' T: anything exposed to the sky D: immediate.
Target saves or is blasted by a lightning bolt for [sum] lightning damage. Inanimate objects and people wearing metal armor do not get a save. Can only be cast during a storm.
Another spell which is objectively worse than a Fireball. Very dramatic, though. A lightning bolt or two is probably grounds for a Morale check from the unfortunate opponents.

11. Raise
R: touch T: a corpse D: variable
You touch a corpse and return it to some form of life.
If one die is invested, this is called Question Dead and must be cast on a corpse dead for fewer than 24 hours. The corpse will answer [sum] yes-or-no questions you ask it. They will probably tell the truth, but are under no obligation — if you kill someone there is no guarantee they will be cooperative to questioning.
If two dice are invested, this is Speak with Dead and must be cast on a corpse dead for fewer than three days. The corpse returns to life for [sum] rounds and can hold a conversation with you. They are under no obligation to answer your questions and might attack; if you receive damage the spell ends immediately.
If three dice are invested, this is Raise Dead and must be cast on a corpse dead for less than a week. The corpse returns to life for [sum]*2 hours. They may have suffered some ability-score damage from decay, but otherwise are completely functional.
If four dice are invested, this is Resurrection and must be cast on a corpse dead for less than a year. The corpse returns to life for [sum] days. Decay is halted, memories are retained, and the spell may be cast again when the duration is up — but remember that the time limit is from the first death.
Five dice would make this spell a True Resurrection, castable on anyone dead for less than a century. In theory this would return someone to true life; in practice the risks are too high to make the casting practical, and it is against most laws anyway (what would the Emperor do if someone raised his grandfather from the dead?)
You could keep bringing a dead friend back to life with this. At least until they run out of time permanently. The ability to interrogate the dead can make an investigation trivial, though their testimony is inadmissible hearsay in most countries. 
12. Sticks to Snakes
R: touch T: a piece of wood you can hold in one hand D: permanent.
This turns your staff or walking stick into a snake with [sum]+[dice] hitpoints. The snake is a loyal and intelligent minor angel, capable of retrieving items and biting people very hard. If you have it return to your hand, or if it ever gets more than one mile away from you, the spell immediately ends and the snake is once more a stick. If the snake is reduced to 0 hitpoints it is immediately reduced to splinters. If something is eating the snake when it happens, they take 4d6 damage from the internal bleeding.
This isn't really overwhelming, but a loyal angelic servant is a big flex. Even heathens are hesitant to attack someone walking next to a visible favour of G_d.


  1. Your dice return to your pool only on a result of 1 or 2 for 24 hours. If this is the result of breaking a tenet, dice will not return to your pool for 24 hours.
  2. You take 1d6 damage in magical backlash. If this is the result of breaking a tenet, you take 6 damage.
  3. The entire spell fails. If this is the result of breaking a tenet, roll a Mishap every time you cast a spell for 24 hours.
  4. Agony for 1d6 rounds. If this is the result of breaking a tenet, Agony for 6 rounds.
  5. You are an object of attraction for all undead within 3 miles, who immediately know your location. 
  6. Lose your sense of taste, smell and touch for 24 hours.

Dooms of the Cleric

  1. You are afflicted with insanity for one hour. You become an NPC under the Dungeon Master's control, and you will randomly cast spells and attack nearby creatures. You will break all but your first two tenets while doing this, and will incur the full penalty. 
  2. You are afflicted with insanity for one day.
  3. You lose your mind permanently and become a priest of Chaos. If you are a Monsignor, this probably tanks your dreams of becoming a saint.  
You can avoid this gruesome fate by performing a Miracle on a king, a True Resurrection on a hero or by finding and putting to rest a Priest of Chaos.

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