Tag Archives: priests

Alternatives to Spell Lists

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Talysman over at The Nine and Thirty Kingdoms wrote about Clerics without Spells almost a year ago. As is his talent, he can produce a simple mechanic that sounds intriguing and fun to play. It's fascinating the almost complete lack of bookkeeping required. Roll 2d6 + (2 * (Cleric Level - HD effect)) >= 9.

Read the post to get the details of the categories as well as the follow-up post with some clarifying details. Really good stuff.

Being a 2e fan, I began to mull how this could work with the idea of Priests of Specific Mythoi. For example, some Clerics do not turn undead, but incite battle rage (God of War). Some Clerics get a Druid-like shape-changing ability.

Under my proposed system, a cleric would choose any six categories. The original categories are: Command, Defense, Disease, Dispelling, Healing, Warning. My additional categories are:

  • Resistance:  Cleric is granted an automatic saving throw against certain types of attacks, energy or a specific class of spells for a number of turns equal to the Cleric's level. Resistance to Posion is a 2 Hit Dice Effect. Resistance to Fire, Cold, Lightning, Acid, and Sonic energy is a 3 Hit Dice effect. Resistance to Psionics is a 4 Hit Dice effect. Resistance to a class of Magic is a 5 Hit Dice effect.
  • Shapechange: Cleric can change into any non-magical, non-planar creature up to the Cleric's level divided by 2 in Hit Dice. For example, at 1st level, a Cleric could change into a fox on a successful roll while a 14th level Cleric could change into any type of bear on a successful roll.
  • Passage: Cleric can travel at normal rate regardless of terrain or physical condition. Examples include, underbrush, forest, sand, ice, snow, wind and more. Forest, hills, deserts, snow and rocky/broken areas are a 2 Hit Dice effect. Wind, mountains, jungles, swamps are a 3 Hit Dice effect. Ice is a 4 Hit Dice effect.
  • Communication: On a successful roll, the Cleric can communicate with any creature or plant. This can only be attempted on an individual creature or plane once. If the attempt fails, it will never succeed, regardless of level advancement and/or number of attempts. The effect lasts for a number of hours equal to the Cleric's level.
  • Favor: The Cleric can grant bonuses to saving throws, Armor Class or attacks to an individual. The Hit Dice effect is twice the bonus. For example, a +1 to Saves is a 2 Hit Dice effect. A +3 is a 6 Hit Dice effect. The effect lasts for a number of rounds equal to the Cleric's level.

The rationale for Resistance to certain categories of spells deals with a bias against mages in my campaign world. The reason for the psionics separation is again a campaign world thing. Psionics are the only form of magic available to those that want to use magic. Mages are like d20 sorcerers in that they were born with the ability.

For a couple of the categories, I had to make a table and I'm looking for a way around that. The other option, of course, is to rework the entire system to use the basic mechanic in ACKS. Hmmm.

For weapon choices, I would allow a few weapons that do d4 and two weapons that do d6. A missile weapon can never do more that d4 damage.

It also occurs to me that I could do the same thing with mages using spell types as categories. But if that happens, it will be another post.

The Manus and Pria

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In the vast Astral Sea are countless planes. Each one has distinctive qualities that make it different from any other plane. On each plane is a being that is composed of the plane's very essence - it is made up of those qualities that make the plane distinctive. These primordial beings or primordials take form in various ways. Many primordials take on the physical essence of a plane. Others, like the Pria, take on the spiritual essence of their home world.

Cerah is a place of vivid colors. Like the Prime Material Plane, there are brightly-colored flowers, but on Cerah the colors are richer, deeper and almost palpable. Regardless of the climate found on all three continents, there is abundant life and life forms. It is not necessarily idyllic as death is also a part of life, but the sensations to all five senses are richer and more intense.

Amongst the gods worshiped here, the most popular are  Kehindupan and his wife Kemashian. Throughout the three continents, any race with sentience has constructed temple-library complexes to honor them. The Temple-Library is also an institution of higher learning and students stream in to study the collected knowledge of Cerah.

Despite the universal love for Kehinupan and Kemashian, only the Manus and the Pria become priests for them. These two races have a special relationship to these gods. The Manus were the first-created on Cerah. They believe that they are created in form and spirit like gods of life and death. As a mark of their favor, the Manus were given a secret knowledge to create a soul. The use of this knowledge is not perceived as an abomination, but as a tribute to the powerful gods of life and death. Manusian priests spend years in study to learn the secret to making the Exilir of Souls and using it to create the Pria.

The first Pria created is the same gender as the priest. When created, the Pria is an adult, but the creating priest spends at least five years training their creation how to interact with society. Priests of Kehindupan are renown for authoring masterworks about etiquette and social graces. Using these books and other materials, a Pria learns about the world around them and how to interact in society like the Manus.

One to three years after creating the first Pria, the priest will create a second one of the opposite gender. A priest will never create more than two. The created Pria consider themselves siblings.

Most created Pria remain near the temple-libraries where they were created. Regardless of where they decide to live, the Pria are devout worshipers of Kehindupan and Kemashian. Usually they choose to be priests, paladins or mystic theurges with a tremendous talent for alchemy.

Prian marriages are arranged by the Manusian priests.  Siblings cannot marry each other. A few marriages are arranged to gain favor or position within church hierarchy, most, however, are arranged by a byzantine set of rules known as the Diyerni Zor. The purpose of the Diyerni Zor is to prevent health issues with the children of Pria. Pria couples are not limited to the number of children they may have. Large families are common.

Freeborn Pria are like a Manus in every respect. The only hint that points to their ancestry is  a lock of silver and red hair. Not all freeborn Pria  have this distinctive mark. Otherwise, Pria are physically a slightly idealized form of the Manus. Pria do not consider themselves superior in any way, but those outside of Cerah usually consider the Pria more beautiful. Both the Manusians and the Pria appear as humans approximately six feet tall. They have an elongated head and a very flat nose with a single nostril shaped like a horizontal slit. On their foreheads is a barely noticeable vestigial third eye. Their arms and fingers are proportionally longer than a human's. Both races prefer to dress in simple robes of white with a brightly-colored sash. The robes also conceal the fact that both races appear bowlegged. This is due to a limited hinge joint located half-way between the knee and the hip.

In game terms, I imagine the Priests of Kehindupan and Kemashian are similar to the Newhonian White Wizards featured at the Hill Cantons site. The post with the revised PDF is here. They also have the power to imbue a handful of spells to the Pria they created. (This ability is similar to the Psionic ability to imbue abilities.) The Pria doesn't pray to their Manusian creator, but mentions their creator in prayers to Kehindupan and Kemashian.

One specialty of the Manusian Priests is alchemy. Learning to create a Pria provides experience in making various potions and understand their effect on the body. The alchemy is also essential to create the Exilir of Souls, a substance that allows the Manusian to create a soul at all.