View Full Version : Redoing and replacing the cleric (3.x/PF)

2010-08-31, 02:39 AM
Domains kind of start along the path of differentiating clerics from each other, but despite that clerics all still very same-ey to me, which I've never liked much. Why does a cleric of Olidamarra, god of thieves and trickery, know how to wear platemail and cave in skulls with a mace, but can't even sneak around decently without using magic or cross-classing?

The first idea I had was to make cleric a template, but it would be difficult to balance and would require a lot of work- you'd have to make a new template for every god.

Then it occurred to me to take the "domains grant powers" idea further and instead have them grant class abilities instead

These are the domains from the PHB and my ideas for them. These are based around a modified cleric class (let's call them Priests) that has a d6 HD, no turning/rebuking, and is only proficient with simple weapons and the deity's favored weapon, light armor, bucklers, and small shields. Class skills and spells per day are the same.

Basically what I'm trying for is a way to make priests of different gods notably different from each other. Also note that I'm shooting for a tier 3-ish class, not a tier 1 like the cleric is. Even so, I feel some of the stuff I've come up with is a bit iffy.

If a domain grants conuses to a skill that isn't normally on the priest's list, then it becomes a class skill.

(For the record, I use a variant where all skills except trained-only sklls are considered class skills for every class- in my case this would become a +1 bonus to skills that a domain normally would grant as class skills every 3 levels.)

PHB domains:

Air: Fast movement as a monk one level lower, Feather Fall 1/day
Animal: Wildshape as a druid of a level equal to your priest level (minus plant and elemental forms)
Chaos: (Not sure. Force DM to reroll any die once per session?)
Death: ? (Maybe something like like a paladin's Lay Hands, but does damage instead of healing it)
Destruction: ? (Ignore hardness of objects and/or DR for 1 minute/day per level? Maybe applicable to other party members at double cost)
Earth: 1/- DR, DR increases by 1 for every three levels of priest.
Evil: ? (Aura of Fear like a Blackguard? Not until level 5 or so, to discourage dips)
Fire: Cast Scorching Ray as a wizard equal to your priest level 1/day per three levels of priest
Good: ? (Aura of courage like a paladin? Again, not until level 5-ish)
Healing: Lay hands and cure disease as a paladin of equal level
Knowledge: All knowledge skills become class skills, Obscure Knowledge (same as badic knowledge)
Law: Any one d20 roll you or another PC makes is treated as rolling an 11, usable 1/day per three levels of priest
Luck: You or another PC can reroll one die before the DM determines the result, usable 1/day per three levels of priest
Magic: Cast 1 extra spell per spell level per day
Plant: ?
Protection: ? (Something like boosting AC and/or DR for self or allies for a limited time per day?)
Strength: +1 to all jump, climb, swim, and grapple checks per two levels, add twice your strength modifier to those checks.
Sun: ?
Travel: ?
Trickery: Disguise, hide, move silently, spot, listen, and use magic device all become class skills, able to disable devices as a rogue.
War: BAB becomes good (equal to fighter,) gain proficiency with medium armor, large and tower shields, and martial weapons
Water: Permanent Water Breathing effect at level 5, +1 to swim checks per level

I intend to add domains from other books as well,but right now I'd just like to get the abilities for the domains in the PHB hammered out before tackling that.

2010-08-31, 06:43 AM
I like the concept, but allow me to pose some advice. Instead of changing the Domain abilities, associate class abilities with each domain that are about on par with the ones you have taken away. Each cleric would then pick a single primary domain to determine their class abilities.


Weapon Proficiency - Rapier, Hand Crossbow, and Short Sword.
Sneak Attack +1d6 at 1st level, 5th level, and every five levels after 5th.
Hide, Move Silently, Bluff, and Sleight of Hand as Class Skills.

As Normal Cleric

Weapon Proficiency: Any 3 (only one weapon may be exotic)
Rage 1/day at 2nd level and every 6 levels thereafter
Class Skills: Any four

Improvised Weapon Proficiency (Can use anything as a weapon at a -2 penalty to attack rolls. Stat a chair leg as a club, a mug as a sap, etc. If they have the equivalent proficiency there is no penalty to attack rolls).
Divine Grace (As Paladin). 1/day per point of charisma bonus (minimum once) they can use a swift action to add half their class level as a luck bonus to AC for 1d6 rounds.
Class Skills - Tumble, Balance, Escape Artist, and Bluff.

The Anarresti
2010-08-31, 07:22 AM
I like the idea of d6, light armor only clerics. However, I'm afraid that these domain abilities you are giving them pushes them back up into tier 1 again.

2010-08-31, 04:46 PM
I like the concept, but allow me to pose some advice. Instead of changing the Domain abilities, associate class abilities with each domain that are about on par with the ones you have taken away. Each cleric would then pick a single primary domain to determine their class abilities.

You know, that's actually a much better idea. I didn't go that route because I didn't want to deviate too much from the core cleric, but now that I've thought about it, I think that's really the way to go.

2010-08-31, 05:20 PM
The part you've changed here isn't the part that's powerful in the cleric.

The spells and their ability to stack them like a crazy person are what makes a cleric powerful. As it is, you've only slightly altered the chassis to maybe, MAYBE put the class instead in high Tier 2, maybe, if we're being fatalistic, but left the break the game, cope with anything abilities intact.

It was really the spells that needed carving back.

Limiting their spells known, perhaps to maybe their domains [possibly with two spells per domain to reduce the overlap factory] and maybe 2 other spells chosen when the prayers occur and then giving them your suggested spiffy abilities and using the original chassis would be roughly tier 3, maybe high tier 4.

With your current suggestions, you're fixing nothing very much. You've forced Con into the necessaries but now there's no point in having Charisma so there's no MAD increase to drag the tier down.

2010-08-31, 05:23 PM
I have been looking at the balance issue of the classes alot lately. Clerics being a teir 1 class, are part of the issue. Never occured to me to knock them out of plate armor and to d6 hd. There are also a few spells that need to go also...or get changed to long complicated rituals and stacking problems.

Although having each god, grant some special ability, like a bonus to move silently and hide, would add more flavor. I kinda like that.

2010-08-31, 05:23 PM
Check out the paladin link in my signature. Admittedly, it's a bit more martial-themed, but I basically allowed them to choose two domains and got powers based on what they chose, which seems similar to what you're doing here.

Revan Ordo
2010-09-01, 07:23 AM
I like the direction you're going, but you may want to look at the Pathfinder Cleric and its domains as sort of a guide.