On How Clerics Really Work

Aleena, R.I.P.
How different is the world with a cleric?

In a campaign without a cleric, the simplest wound takes days to heal. Much like the real world, you might be laid up in bed for a week or more.

But in the world with a cleric, behold! The very next day it is time to descend again into the depths.

Perhaps a very subtle thing was missed.

In Men and Magic it states:
"The number in each column opposite each applicable character indicates the number of spells of each level that can be used (remembered during any single adventure) by that character."

What if it meant exactly what the meanings of the words implied it means? (What are the chances, right?)

What if spells can only be used during any single adventure.

The cleric gains her spells because she is seeking out danger for her deity. If she stays home, she is granted no spells. Only when she leaves home to defeat evil does she have access to her magic. [Tweet this]

How different would the world be then. Wounds, and the choice to take a healing spell, would actually mean something then. Players would be forced to heal at natural rates. You no longer have to account for a world where every wound and disease is healed.

After all, the cleric can both fight and cast spells. Were they not the original fighter/wizard, Gish in modern parlance?

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12 comments:

  1. This is actually a pretty damn awesome idea.

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  2. Yes, and the fighter/mage design of the cleric is made explicit in the description:

    Clerics gain some of the advantages from both of the other two classes (Fighting-Men and Magic-Users) ...

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    1. Yeah, I saw that. And don't think I've forgotten about your sources -- That and modules are coming as posts!

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  3. The rationale being that when not in danger, the cleric's god has better uses for divine power?

    This would also bypass the problems attendant on a world where members of the regular clergy can reliably heal their worshipers.

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  4. Unfortunately (or luckily) things have been clarified already with the Holmes edition, so it supposes that an adventure lasts a day (with the possible interesting corollary that it's not possible to rest in a dungeon.)

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  5. Stealing this for my DCC home game.

    //H

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  6. I really like this idea. I like to run simulation-heavy hexcrawl games where campaigns take place over the course of years of game time. After a bad fight, the party should have to recuperate in town for a while instead of healing up and charging back out the next day. This strikes a nice balance that my ideas did not achieve and makes the issue of party resource conservation even more dramatic than spells/day... "But what if we get lost for a few days...?"

    Consider it stolen!

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  7. I've always assumed that "Church Mouse" clergy are all just normal men anyway. The rare class/level priest could be of any class, as befits her background. Should they happen to be Clerics, without adventuring they would be 1st level & (using my preferred- B/X) have no spells. In most civilized regions leveled Clerics would be hard-pressed to gain XP without winding up in prison (NPCs lack the capacity to meta-game the system as they don't know what XP are or how to get them), so even those who can cast spells would likely live in dangerous frontier regions where they can come by XP 'honestly' (as in the examplar NPCs in B2).

    What it all comes down to is that all types of leveled NPCs would be at least as rare as their PC counterparts, for much the same reason: XP is almost always gained at the risk to life & limb, with the very heavy penalty that they can't pursue XP on purpose.

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  8. Im doing something similar in my homebrew campaign. Firstly the cleric mechanics are rolling to cast spells (no vancian magic) but they get a divine favour modifier. Whenever they attempt to cast a spell it is reduced by the spell level. When they smite an enemy of their deity they get +1 or something, so their casting is reliant on being holy. Cast too many spells and they probably won't be able to cast anything for a good long while.

    This and the other thing that helps is only give the clerics of one deity access to healing magic realt changes party resource management when most clerics are utility hybrids, not healbot warriors.

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  9. Great idea. You could also integrate this with "wizardly magic" only operating in the Mythic Underworld or the Faerie Wilderness - thus having magic operate only when the characters are adventuring.

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