Thursday, September 15, 2011


An interesting comment showed up on the Tao of D&D blog about non-spell cleric powers which immediately brought me to mind of the clerical rituals I want to draft up for my game setting (if not for Beacon proper).  Rituals would be magical effects that would take hours or days instead of one round as a spell would.  They would be used to flesh out the magic system without buggering up combat so much.  I had already thought that one of the rituals should deal with consecration or sanctification - that would be a second or third level ritual.  There should be a ritual for messing with souls (possibly resurrection) and a ritual for imbuing items with magic (hence certain magic items...).  I'd like to find one for each magic level and make them part of church training but very hard to attain (questy).   After reading that discussion, I figured out where to start. The first ritual should be preaching.

Saying a sermon or a mass, and being able to influence players and NPCs should be the first divine 'ritual'.  It's the way the religion is spread and the primary contact between the church and the population at large so it would be taught early.  Anyone can give a speech but for a real fire and brimstone footstomper you would need a invested cleric.  Game-wise, it would be something that the character could do, it would be something the locals would seek out - a service.  It would be something they would do when the townsfolk are bracing for an attack, or for solders before the battle, or for a good harvest, or a wedding, or even before a ship leaves port.  Mechanically it would be some sort of morale boost - I can see it used by NPC priests to whip their minions into a frenzy.  It could also sway opinion towards the players and increase the possibility of henchmen and retainers being retained by a party - and it could influence these retainers during the dungeon crawl.  I can see this as working in conjunction with the cleric's bonus to the communication skill in Beacon to make them the leaders that motivate and muster the troops.  So it would be a low level mass charm - in effect making the audience slightly more disposed towards the cleric and increasing their morale for a short time.  Since it would take an hour or more to perform and be a loud affair I'm not too worried that it would devalue the Enchanter's charm spell.

I probably won't call it preachin' however.


  1. I think that is kind of a "Cart before the horse" situation.

    Spells come from the god. Preaching (inspiring worship), Baptism (claiming souls), Church Building is what the god wants in return (Remembering Cleric covers evil priest's too).

    So Cleric's do priestly things, earn favour with the deity and then spend it on miracles.

    That is how I set it up anyways. If that is any interest to you I can send you a PDF.

  2. I like this idea! Lots of interesting flavor opportunities here - you could a have a couple of varieties even, like Battle Hymn (lead the soilders in rousing song of faith for +1 AC for an hour, but only for those that loudly and enthusiastically participate!), or Thanks Givings (a sanctified feast, where all those attending, after offering public thanks to the gods, get a bonus to their next saving throw). Notice the bit where to receive the benefit of the sermon the PC would have to participate...

  3. Cartman as a cleric? I shudder to think what deity he would serve. It reminds me of my favorite Billy Bob Thornton quote, when he played a former preacher on King of the Hill: "Mr. Hill, I don't know if there's a Gawd, but one thing I know for shore: Yo'r daddy's goin' t' heyill."

  4. I'm not so much a spells are given by the gods kind of fellow, I'm more of a spells tap into the gods kind of fellow. But I think that the rituals work even in that case. If you are a traditionalist on clerics the low level spells don't come directly from the gods anyway so consider this first level ritual as utilizing the casters natural psychic energy just like they do. It's a synergistic or spillover effect when magic wielding clerics (as opposed to the mundane workaday clerics) do sermons. The gods get what they want in any case.

    Naturally you can skin them as you wish in practice but I think they have a place from a mechanical perspective. The main reason I am working on these rituals for Beacon is to cover that area of divine influence that spells don't cover. I see a need for 'spells' that can cover certain aspects of the fantasy ficton (like consecration of a church, making holy items or performing a resurrection) but which should not be castable in combat or from behind the outhouse door.

    Mike, I wouldn't put different flavours of this 'mass' ritual in the rules/mechanics but it would certainly be appropriate in the setting to have different ones.

  5. Also evil clerics don't demotivate their followers, they just motivate them to do evil stuff.