Poll : Do you allow godless clerics? - Page 6





View Poll Results: Do you like/allow clerics without a diety?

Voters
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  • I don't like godless clerics for mechanical reasons.

    14 4.93%
  • I don't like godless clerics for flavor/homebrew gameworld reasons.

    117 41.20%
  • I don't like godless clerics for other reasons I will outline below.

    5 1.76%
  • I'm OK with godless clerics.

    86 30.28%
  • I love godless clerics!

    51 17.96%
  • I never knew you could have a cleric without a patron god until reading this thread...

    11 3.87%
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  1. #51
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    ø Ignore fusangite
    My games tend to have a medieval or bronze age feel; I basically require everyone to have a god, cleric or not. I understand that some people like the idea of playing modern people in pre-modern worlds, in which case godless clerics would be quite reasonable (we elected one to our city council here in Vancouver a year ago) but it's just not my thing.

    And no. I don't let monks into my games either.
    A Fusangite

    -----------------------------------

    “one must depart from the province of Lean-tong, north of Peking and that after travelling 12,000 li, the traveller would reach Japan, and thence to the north, after a journey of 7000 li, arrive at the country of Wen-Schin (the painted people). Five thousand li from this country towards the east is Tahan, which is 20,000 li from Fusang.”

    -- A 6th century account of Fusang, the country across the Pacific from China.

 

  • #52
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    ø Ignore Kahuna Burger
    Quote Originally Posted by Gothmog
    but you have to admit that it does often appeal to the powergamer to be able to pick and choose powers with no chance of retribution or deity restraints on their character.
    I guess I'd have to admit that it COULD... but since none of the egrarious powergamers I've dealt with have chosen to play godless clerics, I can't comment at all on the "does often." And some have chosen to play clerics or alt.clerics, which they powergamed quite nicely within the theoretical diety constraints. :rolleyes:

    I play for concept first and power second, unless I am trapped among unrepentant powergamers (and then I eventually leave). I like the idea of godless clerics because it has a great flavor for a certain kind of character, organization or world. I also choose my gaming options for flavor, fun and customizability... These days I deal with any fears of "that could be abused by powergamers" by just not playing with them.

    And as I tried to mention earlier (damn computer) I as a DM would place MUCH greater RP constraints on a player who chose to be dedicated to certain ideals than some guy with a diety... If I had a player taking war and destruction as domains, he is either gonna play it to the hilt (and probably be a liability in the many social encounters) or find his spells failing... Basing your entire life around ideals is far more restricting than worshipping a god who grants you powers based on two of his several spheres of influence... at least the way I would play it.

    Kahuna burger
    I understand, comprehend, get, grok, and see your point. I can take, handle, cope and deal with the way you run your game. The reasons I disagree with you and/or dislike your playstyle preference lie elsewhere…

  • #53
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    ø Ignore Kahuna Burger
    Quote Originally Posted by fusangite
    My games tend to have a medieval or bronze age feel; I basically require everyone to have a god, cleric or not. I understand that some people like the idea of playing modern people in pre-modern worlds, in which case godless clerics would be quite reasonable (we elected one to our city council here in Vancouver a year ago) but it's just not my thing.
    er, without making this too political or real life religious, I think you may be working from a incorrect veiw of premodern thought.... Also, the existance of magic itself makes your idea that people have to think the way you assume real people at that technology level fairly suspect, even if you could be sure about the universal beliefs of people in those times... So I'm gonna take your "modern people in pre-modern worlds" comment with a serious grain of salt as describing any here's game.

    Kahuna Burger
    I understand, comprehend, get, grok, and see your point. I can take, handle, cope and deal with the way you run your game. The reasons I disagree with you and/or dislike your playstyle preference lie elsewhere…

  • #54
    Quote Originally Posted by Gothmog
    Ok, maybe metagame wasn't quite the right term (I meant explanation of why the world is the way it is), but I think you know what I mean. Nebulous forces of existence such as good, nature, storms, etc are more of a hallmark of eastern religions or spirit worship such as the Native Americans had. It just doesn't fit well in a quasi-medieval cosmology without substantial remodeling, and that would also entail completely redoing the societal and moral implications behind the cultural structure.
    Pish tosh. "May the Force be with you" is not 1000 miles removed from the occidental experience.

    Virtually all European religions had personified deities, with their own worshippers and holy men, and even in those cases where an entire pantheon was worshipped, the gods were still the object of veneration, not nebulous concepts. Nebulous concepts don't have divine right behind them like leaders backed by a church- and therefore much of the quasi-medieval cultural structure goes out the window.
    So, was it the Father, the Son, or the Holy Ghost who granted the Pope domain over the Catholic Church?

    Even with multiple gods in a setting, divine right and religious orders can possess extensive political and moral power in a culture, which would be completely lacking or feel extremely artificial without deities.
    It's clear that you have an extremely circumscribed worldview. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

    I have done extensive research and put a lot of thought into the metaphysical concerns of my world since it doesn't follow the D&D cosmology by the books (which require gods for their published settings), and godless clerics are just a lame powergamer's copout IMO.
    Given that you seem to think Destruction and War are what these eponymous "powergamers" drool over, I think you really have no idea what you're burbling about. Again.

    As far as the Holy Ghost goes, I really have no idea of the personality. It strikes me as more the essence of God, whereas God is a protector, father figure, and divine retribution; while Jesus embodies goodness, compassion, forgiveness, and redepmption. PLEASE DON'T START A RELIGIOUS DEBATE OVER THIS PEOPLE, ITS JUST MY HYPOTHETICAL TAKE ON THE DIVINE ASPECTS OF CHRISTIAN MYTHOLOGY.
    And how many clerics of the Holy Ghost are there?
    Last edited by hong; Tuesday, 11th November, 2003 at 06:58 AM.

  • #55
    No godless clerics IMC, for flavor reasons; it just wouldn't fit in with the feel. That's me and my world, though; I see no reason to try to convince DM's running other worlds that this answer is somehow universally "right."

    Druids and rangers can draw their powers from "nature," but nature is often personaified in the form of the Green Mother (also called the Grain Mother or the Rain Mother). She's both a concept and a person (that is, a sentient personality). For that matter, even my goddess of cats (Bast) seems to be an anthropomorphic manifestation of the general concept of cats. This is not true of all my gods, however; most were either created directly by the creator deity, or are the descendents of those gods.

    We also have elemental gods, like Terr, the elemental god of earth (as opposed to, say, Anlatt, the god of the forge, who has Earth among his domains). Sometimes he seems like a person, sometimes simply like the metaphysical heart of the Elemental Plane of Earth. It depends on your point of view....

    The Spectrum Rider

  • #56
    Quote Originally Posted by Kahuna Burger
    ...I'm just trying to get at why people don't like philosopher clerics or whatever you want to call them...
    personally, i just have a hard time wrapping my head around someone getting powers from something as nebulous as a "philosophy."

    in my world-building, i like to have concrete sources for magical power -- especially divine magic. so the idea of someone gaining magical abilities because they really, really, fervently believe in an abstract idea doesn't quite work for me.

    like i mentioned before, someone who uses magic because of their own faith in themselves is, IMO, a sorcerer, not some variety of cleric. (even in that case, in my world-building i'll talk about where sorcerers and other arcane spellcasters draw their power from as well.)

  • #57
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    ø Ignore Dark Jezter
    Quote Originally Posted by d4
    personally, i just have a hard time wrapping my head around someone getting powers from something as nebulous as a "philosophy."

    in my world-building, i like to have concrete sources for magical power -- especially divine magic. so the idea of someone gaining magical abilities because they really, really, fervently believe in an abstract idea doesn't quite work for me.

    like i mentioned before, someone who uses magic because of their own faith in themselves is, IMO, a sorcerer, not some variety of cleric. (even in that case, in my world-building i'll talk about where sorcerers and other arcane spellcasters draw their power from as well.)
    Same here. I find it silly that a divine spellcaster could recieve spellcasting power from a "philosophy". With the exception of the Warcraft RPG (in which priests and paladins can gain power from their own faith and conviction), I don't think I'll ever allow players to play as a godless divine spellcaster. Here's what I would decide even in a non-FR campaign:

    Bards, Wizards, and Sorcerers: Gain their power from the universe itself, whether they cast from innate ability or careful study. Arcane magic does not require a patron deity.

    Clerics, Druids, Paladins, and Rangers: Gain their spellcasting powers and supernatural abilites from their patron deity. Druids gain their powers from nature deities. A character must have a patron deity if they want to take levels in Cleric, Druid, or Paladin. Rangers aren't required to have patron deities, although not having a patron deity will make them unable to cast ranger spells.
    Last edited by Dark Jezter; Tuesday, 11th November, 2003 at 07:48 AM.
    -Dark Jezter

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  • #58
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    ø Ignore fusangite
    Quote Originally Posted by Kahuna Burger
    er, without making this too political or real life religious, I think you may be working from a incorrect veiw of premodern thought.... Also, the existance of magic itself makes your idea that people have to think the way you assume real people at that technology level fairly suspect, even if you could be sure about the universal beliefs of people in those times... So I'm gonna take your "modern people in pre-modern worlds" comment with a serious grain of salt as describing any here's game.
    I'm not categorizing all pre-modern civilizations in this way. Clearly, in classical civilization and in ancient India, atheism was an accessible concept endorsed by a small minority within the intellectual elite of society. But those civilizations aren't like the ones in which I enjoy playing. For most of European history (and European-style places are where I set my games), the existence of god(s) was a self-evident truth to such a large portion of the population that even if there existed atheists, we can detect no atheist discourse.

    Even if I somehow believed that there was atheist discourse in these periods, it still wouldn't make me permit people to play clerics of philosophies. Stoics, Epicureans, Aristotelians, Platonists, Cynics, Lokhayata Hindus, etc. do not appear to have had any kind of equivalent of the cleric class so I really don't see a pre-modern cleric role. So, I'm still quite uninterested in the concept of atheistic clerics because of my desire to generate worlds with a pre-modern feel.

    I also endorse Dark Jezter and D4's formulations of the problems with justifying divine magical power within D&D physics if it is not channeled power.
    Last edited by fusangite; Tuesday, 11th November, 2003 at 09:04 AM.
    A Fusangite

    -----------------------------------

    “one must depart from the province of Lean-tong, north of Peking and that after travelling 12,000 li, the traveller would reach Japan, and thence to the north, after a journey of 7000 li, arrive at the country of Wen-Schin (the painted people). Five thousand li from this country towards the east is Tahan, which is 20,000 li from Fusang.”

    -- A 6th century account of Fusang, the country across the Pacific from China.

  • #59
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    ø Ignore Dirigible
    Does the structure of the answers seem a bit biased to anyone else?

    In most campaigns, I don't allow Godless clerics. Divine magic comes straight from the deity in question, not from some battery of Positivity or Negativity behind the Gods (on the other hand, I've never GM'd Planescape, in which case all of the foregoing wouldn't apply).

    However, at least one campaign I've GM'd only allowed Godless clerics, who followed self-derived philosophies, couldn't chennel energy but got massive bonuses to Will.

  • #60
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    The thing is, godless clerics allow for unrepentant min-maxing only if you let them pick any alignment/domain1/domain2 combination.

    There's nothing wrong with mystic philosophers (not anymore than with wizards), if you are careful about what you allow.

    An example of philosophy: Freedom.
    Alignment: CG
    Domains: Travel, Chaos, Good, Knowledge.

    Here it is, you have a philosophy. It's just like a god, except the ethos is much more loose and there are person behind you.

    But you still have check and balances. You can't use this philosophy to get Travel and War, for example. And don't whine about freedom fighters!

    An interesting thing is that real-world alchemists (from Renaissance and (very) late Middle-Age), if they were teleported in a D&D world and were granted the wonder that is "but it works now" on their magic; they would have an arcane outlook, but would actually be much closer to philosopher clerics...

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