View Full Version : (D&D 3.5) Faith-independent cleric rules: the Planar Medium

2012-02-25, 03:39 AM
(Note: this is a slightly revised Old WotC post of mine)

Since the cleric role is essential to parties, but many people don't really find any of the established gods or religions appealing, and many people are wary of allowing godless clerics to just pick any two domains they want for fear of powergaming, clearer rules for clerics who don't follow established religions would be helpful in some circumstances. The objective of this post is to give some rules and fluff to such clerics. Any thoughts on this? I think that these rules would allow clerics who don't fit into any established religion while still avoiding possible abuses involved in "just pick any two domains" clerics.


Planar Mediumship is a field of magic that involves channeling and interacting with the planes, inner and outer. As a result, planar mediums are very effective when it comes to dealing with alignment, planar travel, summoning, and channeling planar power.

In terms of the magic they wield, a planar medium is identical to a cleric. However, their magic is not based on faith, but on practice, experience, and academic study, much like the magic of a wizard.

In general, a planar medium is, as far as the rules are concerned, a cleric, with planar mediumship as their "religion." However, in background, a planar medium is more likely to have learned at a magical academy than a temple, and planar mediumship is generally regarded as a discipline rather than a faith. A planar medium is not necessarily irreligious, any more than a rogue or fighter is. However, also like a rogue or fighter, their abilities are not dependent on their faith, and their faith, no matter how fervent, is a matter of personal conviction, not a source of power.

A planar medium is not a cleric of a non-theocentric faith or philosophy. Planar mediums have no more need for a philosophical underpinning to their power than have need for a divine patron -- although, just as a planar medium might be pious in spite of not drawing on a deity's power, she might be philosophical in spite of not drawing on a philosophical conviction. A planar medium who focuses her magical capacity on the Plane of Fire -- as represented by taking the fire domain -- may have some commitment to fire as a purifying, energetic source, or she may simply find that channeling the power of the plane of fire is useful and not have any particular philosophical attachment to the plane.

The traditional divine focus of a planar medium is two concentric rings, with the outer ring symbolizing the outer planes and the inner ring symbolizing the inner planes. However, not all planar mediums have the same focus, and some might have a different focus.


-A planar medium selects domains from the following list: air, chaos, darkness (or shadow), destruction, earth, evil, fire, good, healing, law, travel, and water. Each domain corresponds to an inner or outer plane (healing corresponds to the positive energy plane, destruction to the negative energy plane, darkness to the plane of shadow, and travel to the ethereal and astral planes).

-If a cleric is eligible for a domain independent of faith (such as a cloistered cleric gaining the knowledge domain regardless of deity), then a planar medium using the same rules (e.g. a cloistered planar medium) gains the domain in the same manner.

-A planar medium may change domains, giving up a domain for a month before acquiring a new one. The selection of the new domain(s) must be made at the begining of the month of lost domain access.

Turning, Rebuking, and Spontaneous Spellcasting
-Ordinarily, a good planar medium spontaneously cures wounds and turns undead, an evil planar medium spontaneously inflicts wounds and rebukes undead, and neutral planar mediums chooses.

-However, an evil planar medium with the healing domain has a sufficiently strong connection to the positive energy plane that he can choose to spontaneously cure wounds and turn undead instead of spontaneously inflicting wounds and rebuking undead, and a good planar medium with the destruction domain has a sufficiently strong connection to the negative energy plane that she can choose to spontaneously inflict wounds and rebuke undead instead of curing wounds and turning undead.

-A planar medium who wishes to change whether he cures/turns or inflicts/rebukes, or one who has lost the ability to do so due to an alignment shift, may switch to the new type of energy channeled after one month of neither being able to spontaneously cure nor inflict nor being able to turn or rebuke undead.

-A planar medium may be of any alignment

-A planar medium may cast spells with any alignment descriptor, although, depending on the game, these actions may "drag" the planar medium toward the alignment of the descriptor (at the DM's discretion).

Planar Knowledge Dependency
-Because their magic is dependent on intimate knowledge of the planes, to cast spells of a given level, a planar medium must have knowledge (the planes) equal to 2 + (2 x spell level). For example, to cast first level spells, a planar medium must have 4 ranks in knowledge (the planes), while to cast 6th level spells the planar medium must have 14 ranks in knowledge (the planes).

Transitions between Planar Mediums and Conventional Clerics
-A planar medium could switch to being a normal cleric of a deity, religion, concept, or ideal, and vice versa (although most typical clerics are likely to find that their planar knowledge isn't sufficient to channel the planes very effectively).

-Switching from being a planar medium to being a more traditional cleric requires being of true faith, being accepted by the deity, being of appropriate alignment etc: the usual requirements for switching deities, according to DM discretion and possibly deity.

-Switching from being a traditional cleric to being a planar medium requires going a month without domains, turning, rebuking, or spontaneous cure/inflict spellcasting, but still being able to cast normal cleric spells -- so long as knowledge (the planes) is sufficient, then acquiring turning or rebuking, spontaneous spellcasting, and domains at the end of a month. The selection of domains and spontaneous curing/turning undead or spontaneous inflicting/rebuking undead is made at the beginning of the month during which the cleric-turned-planar-medium masters planar magic.

Sample Planar Medium Concepts

Sarguulsh Zarki, Guide of the Planes: A mercenary and planeswalker, Sarguulsh is a ready guide to any adventurer who seeks aid traversing the planes. There are rumors that she was once a leader of a tribe of goblins who had abandoned the worship of Maglubiyet in favor of theological indifference, before they were crushed and dispersed by zealous Maglubiyet-worshipping goblins, and that she took to the planes to evade further reprisals from Maglubiyet's faithful, but Sarguulsh is mum about such claims. (N Goblin Planar Medium 10. Domains Air and Travel, Channels Positive.)

Danobiel Mantig, Healer of Hextor's Faithful: Danobiel is a pious devotee of Hextor with a scholarly bent. Originally, he was a cleric of Hextor, but experience in an unholy war against the followers of Heironeous proved the utility of spontaneous healing. The Church of Hextor organized a corps of Planar Mediums who channelled positive energy. Already a scholar of the planes, Danobiel joined and mastered the art of channelling positive energy. He continues to be a devout servant of Hextor, now healing His unholy warriors on fields of battle so that they are alive and uninjured, to continue crushing the infidels wherever they are found. (LE Human Planar Medium 6. Domains Healing and Law, Channels Positive.)

Xiaolan Peng, Commander of the Dead: A longtime planar medium with an interest in necromancy, Xiaolan has overcome initial suspicions and proven his worth to the naval high command of the Most Serene Republic of Zhouxi. He is adept at both creating and controlling the undead. His creation of tireless skeletal rowing crews for the Republic's galleys is widely credited for allowing Zhouxi's forces to route those of the rival republic of Guongdu and take control of the Nutmeg Islands. (LN half-elf Planar Medium 8. Domains Evil and Water, Channels Negative.)

2012-02-27, 07:36 PM
Some notes:

I'm considering getting rid of access to the alignment domains (chaos, evil, good, and law). This would leave the planar medium capable of channeling the power of the inner planes, but not the outer planes. It would possibly avoid the potentially contentious issue of either allowing, for instance, a chaotic planar medium to have the law domain, or demanding that a planar medium's alignment match that of an aligned domain, which goes against the idea of a planar medium being a magical expert whose powers are independent of alignment, deities, etc.

I'm also considering whether travel and darkness/shadow are appropriate. Channeling the inner planes provides a healthy helping of domains without the transitive planes.

There's also the question of which best represents the negative energy plane: death, destruction, or something else? I'm not sure.

2012-03-05, 03:15 PM
I added a D&D 3.5 parenthetical to the title, just to make it clearer from reading the title what this is about.