Monday, January 30, 2017

Cleric Domains Using Components     

In Second Edition D&D, clerics got a whole lot more customizable and interesting.  So it is only fitting that we use them to start our examples of how switching class components works.  As described in my last post, clerics break down into four components:  Primary Healer, Secondary Spellcaster, Secondary Armored Fighter, and Tertiary Community Leader.  This paints the picture of a fairly standard, good aligned cleric who follows a deity of healing, community, or goodness in general.

Domains, from Third Edition, introduced the idea of portfolios of special abilities that deities could grant to their clerics.  Each deity generally grants a number of domains (including up to two based on their alignment), and clerics choose two of these.  Each domain grants some special abilities and a small list of spells (some of which may not be normally on the cleric spell list).  Clerics then receive a special "domain" slot for their spell casting, usable only for spells from this particular list.  Looking at the total abilities granted by domains, they are probably closest to a Tertiary component.

Currently, clerics have the Tertiary component of Community Leader.  Which is fine for many NPC clerics, since that is generally the function that they will have in the story.  But adventuring clerics rarely have a community that they remain attached to and active in during the course of the story.  For these clerics, there should be an option for other callings.

Giving Each Deity Their Own Domain Component     

When I was in college, playing Second Edition D&D, I made a handwritten list of 100 things that a deity could have as their area of focus.  It was, of course, a chart so that you could roll percentile dice to select a portfolio item.  By rolling twice or three times on the chart, you would be able to randomly generate a unique deity, and the list would tell you what spheres of influence that cleric had access to for spell casting.  Sadly, I do not have a copy of that list anymore (along with many of my old D&D notes, it got lost somewhere along the line.)  Pathfinder has more than 100 potential domains (when you include all the subdomains).  But the world that Pathfinder uses, Golarion, has substantially fewer than 100 deities in it, as do most campaign worlds (Forgotten Realms may be the exception!)

Making a class component for each type of cleric in your campaign world has a number of advantages.  It takes the place of not only domains, but can also be used for archetypes that are specific to only a few deities in your world.  If you want to have only one deity with multiple orders of clerics, each can have their own component.  Finally, you can have class components that represent clerics that are more generalized than those who follow a single deity each, perhaps representing an entire pantheon, or representing philosophical concepts rather than gods.  In this way, domain class components become much like heritages: specific to the particular community that the cleric represents.

The Domain components, generally speaking, will replace Community Leader (as it is the default).  If you want your cleric to also be a community leader, you might consider replacing of the other components of cleric, and making your Domain that much more powerful as a result (making it a secondary or primary component).  Here is an example of a Domain component with three separate levels.  Since I have run many games in the Forgotten Realms, I've used one of those deities as an example:  Mystra, the goddess of magic.  (Note that this is for purposes of example only, as material for the Forgotten Realms is copyrighted by Wizards of the Coast.)

Follower of Mystra (a Domain Component)

Requirements:  Must be either Lawful or Good.

Hit Dice:  no change

Skills:  Followers of Mystra gain the following class skills:  Knowledge (arcana), Knowledge (religion), Spellcraft

Base Attack Bonus:  no change

Saving Throws:  no change

Additional Spells:  Followers of Mystra learn the following spells, in addition to any spells they learn from the Spellcaster component.  They must still meet level requirements to cast these spells.
  • 1st - identify, magic aura, protection from evil
  • 2nd - align weapon, bless water, magic mouth
  • 3rd - dispel magic, glyph of warding, magic circle against evil
  • 4th - arcane eye, holy smite, imbue with spell ability
  • 5th - dispel evil, spell resistance, true seeing
  • 6th - analyze dweamor, antimagic field, glyph of warding (greater)
  • 7th - holy word, legend lore, spell turning
  • 8th - holy aura, protection from spells, symbol of death
  • 9th - foresight, mage's disjunction, miracle
Special Abilities:  Tertiary Followers of Mystra gain two special abilities at first level:  Arcane Beacon and Touch of Good.  Secondary Followers gain two abilities at first level, and one additional ability every three levels, starting at level three.  Primary Followers gain two abilities at first level, and one additional ability every two levels, starting at level two.
  • Arcane Beacon: As the Arcane domain ability.
  • Blast Rune:  As the Rune domain ability.
  • Brew Potion:  As the feat, must meet level requirements.
  • Craft Construct:  As the feat, must meet level requirements.
  • Craft Magic Arms and Armor:  As the feat, must meet level requirements.
  • Craft Rod:  As the feat, must meet level requirements.
  • Craft Staff:  As the feat, must meet level requirements.
  • Craft Wand:  As the feat, must meet level requirements.
  • Craft Wondrous Item:  As the feat, must meet level requirements.
  • Dispelling Touch:  When you cast dispel magic as targeting a single object or creature, you may do so as a melee touch attack.  If the attack succeeds, the highest level spell on the target is automatically dispelled.  (Secondary Follower only).
  • Divine Boon:  As the Divine domain ability.
  • Empower Spell:  As the feat.
  • Enlarge Spell:  As the feat.
  • Extend Spell:  As the feat.
  • Forge Ring:  As the feat, must meet level requirements.
  • Hand of the Acolyte:  As the Magic domain ability.
  • Heighten Spell:  As the feat.
  • Holy Lance:  As the Good domain ability, but using character level, rather than class level.  (Primary Follower only).
  • Maximize Spell:  As the feat.
  • Quicken Spell:  As the feat.
  • Scribe Scroll:  As the feat, must meet level requirements.
  • Silent Spell:  As the feat.
  • Spell Rune:  As the Rune domain ability.
  • Still Spell:  As the feat.
  • Touch of Good:  As the Good domain ability, but using character level, rather than class level.
  • Widen Spell:  As the feat.
Note that many of these abilities and feats may yet be modified, and this is a far from complete list (including mostly only Pathfinder Core Rules).  Next post I will tackle the huge subject of Spellcasting!

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