View Full Version : A more colorful cleric (D&D 3.5e)

2011-09-26, 08:37 AM
This is aimed at 3.5e, but could probably be used for other systems as well

The purpose of this fix is to reduce the power of the cleric, but also make it more interesting. This fix gives the cleric more class features, and restrains its spell casting abilities.
In short, it turns the cleric into a "holy preacher", rather than a "divine magic user".

The Nerf:
Spells per day, each spell level receives a -1 penalty, minimum 0, if the cleric does not receive bonus spells from wisdom she can't cast spells of that level because she has 0 spell slots. (this nerf does not include the domain bonus, domain spell will always be precisely 1)
Known spells, rather than knowing all spells, the cleric has, like the sorceror, a list of spells she knows. These spells can't be forgotten. The cleric gains 5 plus the wisdom modifier spells known every level, she may learn any level of spells she can cast (even if she has 0 spell slots).
Domains, the domains get a nerf, rather than having two (or sometimes more) domains, the cleric gets one major domain that works like a normal domain, and all the other domains are minor, the minor domains- unlike the major domain- can't contribute to the domain spell list, the cleric may only use the major domain spell list for spells, the other domains only grant the bonus benefit. If the cleric for some reason has more than 2 domains then all extra domains are minor.

At this point the cleric has received a severe nerf, she is no longer as good as she was at the only thing she could do in the first place, casting spells.
But that was not a good class design, there's more to clergy than casting spell. Now we will look into class features that color the cleric in interesting ways and make her more cleric-y.

New features
Holy quest.
At first level the cleric may take on a holy quest on behalf of her patron deity, this quest is up to the DM and should reflect the nature of the deity and the level of the cleric. The DM should make reasonable quests.
Begining the quest starts with the cleric praying for one hour, then receives a divine revalation of the quest at hand. The cleric may not begin a new holy quest until the last one is complete or failed in such a way it can't ever be complete. Read below about failed quests.
If the cleric succeeds in the quest, the cleric will receive a boon from the deity, the boon (minor, medium or major) will be equal to the difficulty of the quest (easy, medium, hard), it could be anything (divine aid from lesser outsider, temporary bonus when needed, advice, etc, something useful).
Easy quests should be short and not take the cleric off-course, medium quests should take some self-sacrifice and involve risk to the cleric, hard quests will be difficult and long, but will also thus give the greatest boon.
If the cleric fails in the quest then she has drawn the ire of her deity, the consequences are as follows depending on how often ire has been drawn:
1-3, can't cast spells for 1 day
4-6, can't cast spells for 1 week
7-10, can't cast spells for 1 month
11-15, can't cast spells for 1 year
16+, can't cast spells for 10 years
These numbers of drawn ires are cumulative, the only way to remove the ire is to make a sacrifice to the deity to qualm its rage, they should also be avoided.
If a cleric succeeds in three consecutive holy quests then in addition to the boons, the cleric will gain one spell known permanently, the cleric may draw from its domains (even minor) spell lists to its own spells on this occasion, something she may not during leveling, making this an important task all clerics should actively seek to accomplish.
If the cleric succeeds in 10 consecutive holy quests then she receives a permanent +1 sacred bonus to one ability score, this bonus does not stack and must be given to a different ability score if received again. After 70 consecutive successful holy quests this bonus is increased to +2 after each 10 gained, allowing the cleric to gain +2 bonus to abilities. +2 is the total cap however.

Sacrifices are similar to holy quests, with the exception to that they can't be failed, but they tend to be pricer. Sacrifices can be used to permanently reduce the number of ires drawn from the deity, reducing the consequence of failing holy quests.
What is to be sacrificed will vary from deity to deity, evil demonic gods will tend to favor living sentient sacrifices, some may require material wealth, some deities may require that you sacrifice a long term friendship, others that you spill your own blood.
Repetitive sacrifices will make the deity unimpressed, a max of 3 of the same sacrifice may be made in the same year.
A sacrifice will yield the same benefit as a holy quest, at the exception of bonus spells known (unless the said sacrifices are truly impressive)

Converting non-believers is a main goal in most religions, it can be said that this is a holy quest, but since this is a continuous long term goal for all cleric it deserves its own paragraph.
Conversion is a long and difficult process, but the benefits can be very rewarding.
To convert none believers, the cleric must make a speech about her deity, the speech is at least 1 hour long, she must make a diplomacy check DC 15. If she succeeds then anyone who hears it must make a will save against 10+cleric level+clerics charisma mod, if the person hearing has knowledge(religion) then she may add that to her will check in order to resist. If the person fails then the cleric must check up on her in 1 months time and make the same conversion speech with a DC 20. If cleric succeeds then the convertee is converted to the clerics faith. Only 10 people can be affected by this speech at a time. If a convertee resists conversion then he can't be converted until the next month, he also receives a permanent +1 to save against this specific cleric, this bonus is cumulative if resistance is done multiple times.
For each 4 conversions the cleric receives a minor boon, for each 10 conversions the cleric receives an extra spell known. For each 50 conversions the cleric receives another spell slot for the highest spell known to the cleric (or lower if she so chooses). This potentially allows the cleric infinite spells!
If a conversion is unconverted (by another cleric of a different faith) then the cleric loses whatever benefit she has received.
Clerics can not be converted by clerics that are not at least 10 levels higher and not diametrically opposed alignment-wise and deities must not be enemies.

Enemies of Deities
Not all deities get along, the elf god hates the orc god, for example. If a cleric casts a beneficial spell on a follower of an enemy deity then the spell fizzles. If she on the other hand casts an offensive spell then it receives a +1 bonus to caster level against the target (AOE spells can't benefit from this).
AOE beneficial spells have no effect on enemy deity followers.
Followers of the enemy can't be converted.
Killing important figures of enemy deities will give the cleric medium boons.

Friends of Deities
Some deities are allies, when the cleric casts a beneficial spell on a target that follows the clerics deity or one of said deity's allies, the caster level of that spell receives a +1 bonus. If a cleric casts a offensive spell on a follower of the clerics deity or said deity's allies it receives a -1 caster level penalty, if the caster level is reduced to 0 the spell fizzles.
Killing a follower of the deity without good cause (such as self-defense) will draw the ire of the deity.

Boons are received from holy quests, sacrifices and conversions, boons come in three sizes and each size has guidelines for what they should include (it is however up to the DM to decide what is appropriate)
Minor boon, this is something small, but still useful, could be a beneficial spell being cast on the cleric when she needs it (like a cure light in combat), this could also be a divine revelation giving advice
Medium boon, this is somehing not small but not large, it could be anything that a small boon could give, but also it could be aid from a lesser outsider sent from the deity
Major boon, this is something substancial, and only given to those most faithful, it could be the aid of a demon/angel, a teleport spell just before death to save you, a divine revelation about a dark and hidden secret, this should not be something trivial.
Boons may be used at any time as a free action, boons may be used even if the cleric has drawn the ire of the deity and can't cast spells.