Monday, December 2, 2013

Clerics, Miracles, & Prayers

My opinions on divine magic have always been mixed. While I love and enjoy playing Clerics and believe the class should have some supernatural abilities to represent their connection to the divine, I've never liked the implementation of divine magic. I've also never liked how the Cleric's spellcasting ability was tied to Wisdom, thinking Charisma fits the whole "praying for your spells everyday" idea a lot better. 

However, I think I've found an interesting alternative in the new retroclone Fantastic Heroes & Witchery. The game presents a divine class called the "Friar", which takes the place of the traditional Cleric class. Unlike its predecessor, the Friar does not receive spells. Instead, the class prays for help from their deity. The player rolls a d6 and adds their Wisdom modifier. Any result above 1 is successful, but each additional prayer during the same day raises the DC by 1. A successful prayer allows a Friar to do one of the following: 
  • Blessings. Beneficiary is granted a +4 bonus for a single particular task (one die roll), or the next saving throw against a particular threat or creature, within one day. 
  • Counter Prayer. Cancels sound associated magical effects (e.g. harpy songs) within 30 feet, so long as the Friar loudly prays. 
  • Dispel Charm. Dispels a mind affecting spell or effect if the Friar rolls 1d10 plus their level vs. 10 plus the caster's level (or creature's HD). 
  • Encouragement. All allies within 30 feet get a +1 bonus to attack rolls and saving throws vs. fear for a duration of 1 round per Friar level. At 9th level, the bonus increases to +2.
  • Exorcism. Expels a malignant spirit from an unwilling host (use a Turn Undead roll, but after 30 minutes of loud prayers). 
  • Guidance. Answers a question with a short vision, a few words, a coincidental sign, etc. 
  • Healing Touch. Cures 2 hp/level, or grants a new Con save (plus Friar's level) to cure a disease. 
  • Sanctuary. No creature can attack the Friar so long as he prays silently during that combat. Common creatures get no save, but supernatural foes get a Charisma save. 
  • Turn Undead. Repels or even utterly destroys undead and sometimes demonic creatures. 
I really love this mechanic and I wonder if I can work it into a project that I've been toying around with for the past year or so. The project has a class similar to the Cleric called the Acolyte, and I believe implementing this prayer system would make the class more unique. However, I might streamline the ability somewhat. Instead of basing it around a random roll, I think I might allow the Acolyte to use this ability a number of times per day equal to their level plus their Charisma modifier (the game only has four attributes). Also, I might toy with the idea where Acolytes might receive a few special prayer abilities based on their chosen deity.