Monday, May 21, 2012

Pie lesu domine Dona eis requiem

When I think about clerics in most D&D games I find myself wishing to beat my head with a penance board.

DMs seem to have a certain image of the clergy in most fantasy worlds, and I really find it quite strange.  The cleric, in all of his trappings, usually ends up looking like a slightly more ecclesiastic mage, wandering about in armor and robes with a mission and a holy symbol.

My example, seen to the left, is from Pathfinder.  Now I won't get into the awkwardness of the armor or the weirdness of a cleric walking around in a vaguely 'desert' theme... Though she also has very little real protection from the heat or shine on the armor.  The whole theme looks to me to be sort of a kludge of various themes... And sadly our divinities seem to lack a real theme to their religions.  In most settings you can point out the Good Church and the Evil Church based on their specific use of virgins.... But what defines the religion?

Above: The Orthodox Church of Bahamut

I think what most worlds are missing is a flavor, a specificity.  I loved the Specialty Priest as a concept, but of course some take a bit of offense at the old SPs.  Of course I love the concept of specialized spellbooks too.  So what is a boy to do?

Welcome to the Book of Hours.  In my newest setting Prataferro I am going to be trying out the concept of Books of Hours.  Each Cleric may start with a specific Book of Hours related to their portfolio.  Consider it an Expanded Domain.  The various prayers and liturgy of a priesthood can be contained in such an item.  Each group may use different ways to preserve their Books... Perhaps the clergy of the Prismatic Goddess tattoo their prayers on their skin in mandala forms that change function based on the light/time they prepare spells.  The clergy of the Lord of Bones keep their spells within their familiar skulls, who whisper the songs of their Lord into the ears of his faithful.

And the Cleric expands his power through gaining additional knowledge of his faith and worship.

So what do you think about the concept?  Would love to hear from you... Feel free to use our new Facebook attached comment system!

As Always,

Good Gaming.