Friday, April 12, 2013

Clerical Musings

From Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook
By Wayne Reynolds
I have always had a strange fondness for the Cleric. While I'm an Agnostic in real life, there is just someone about fantasy deities and religions that gets my imagination working and play those rare few who have decided to dedicate their lives to these divine beings and the philosophies they are associated with. 

Because of my love for the Cleric, I have been thinking about a few different ways to hack the class to better fit my view of it and how I'd like it to work in my game. 

One of the things I have been toying with is possibly changing the cleric into a Charisma-based spontaneous caster much like the sorcerer. My reasoning for this is rather simple. The Cleric, instead of preparing its spells like the Wizard, would pray or "ask" their patron deity for help, but they can only do this a number of times per day before their deity starts to ignore them. I'd probably slow their spell progression down so they wouldn't be overpowered. However, I'm hesitant to actually make this change because I'd have to make a few more changes to the class that I'm not sure I'm willing to do just yet. 

The second idea I have been toying with is one that came to me after reading through the D&D Next playtest documents. I have always disliked domains and have been looking for something I could use to replace them. While reading the Cleric entry in the playtest document, I found myself really liking the idea of a Cleric's patron deity having a more profound affect on the Cleric than just choosing two domains. 

Instead of choosing two domains at 1st level, the Cleric would instead choose a Divine Patron. These Divine Patrons would be very broadly defined so Game Masters could build their setting's deities around them. Examples would be things like the Life-Giver, the Protector, the Storm-Caller, and the Warmonger. The Divine Patron would grant the Cleric additional armor/weapon proficiencies (The basic Cleric would only be proficient with light armor and simple weapons), bonus skills and spells thematically tied to the Patron, which alignments the Cleric can be, and a number of powers thematically tied to the Patron. Basically, the Patron would act a lot like a Wizard's School. 

While this change would make Clerics dedicated to different deities more unique (Clerics of the Warmonger, for example, would have more armor/weapon proficencies and powers that affect their combat abilities than Clerics of the Lifegiver), but would make the class more complicated then I'd probably like. I think I'm going to let this idea sit in my House Rule notebook a little longer before I actually do anything with it. 

What are some of the changes you would make to the Cleric? Would they be minor changes or drastic ones? Why would you want to make the changes? I'd love to see other peoples' ideas.