D&D General building a faith around the assumptions of the cleric instead of in spite of it?

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
many field agents end up in desk work as their bodies fail them which is likely to still be the case with the cleric class, let alone the paladin.

The difference, of course, being that in our world, field agents get old and slow and don't get any better. Meanwhile, clerics go up in level, and become powerhouses.

But, if you want to ignore that - and you feel the gods will ignore that, that's fine.
 

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HammerMan

Legend
The difference, of course, being that in our world, field agents get old and slow and don't get any better. Meanwhile, clerics go up in level, and become powerhouses.

But, if you want to ignore that - and you feel the gods will ignore that, that's fine.
i am reminded of Order of the Stick when they said "everyone knows your eyesight and hearing improves as you age" as a refrence to the 3e +1/2/3 to mental stats for ageing... and perception being a wis skill old men had +1 or +2 on seeing and hearing things over what they had 50 years earlier
 

Voadam

Legend
right off the bat I have a hard time calling it faith.

faith is believing with lack of evidence (in my mind)

Avoiding real world religion for a moment, you (in most settings) not only get powers, not only can meet angels, but you can (at higher levels) talk to or go meet your god.

Religious faith can have different connotations.

"I am a faithful X" says you are faithful to the X religion, not that you believe in something with no evidence.

It can also simply mean where you put your trust, which can be based on evidence or not.
 

Quickleaf

Legend
I think some of y’all are missing the point of the question.

Since every cleric gets Turn Undead, I think a religion built around the cleric would have to hold that undead are bad. However, there are multiple resurrection spells on the cleric spell list, so returning from the dead isn’t necessarily against this religion’s precepts. That suggests it may be more about how the body is meant to be treated than anything about the natural cycle of life and death. They are opposed to magically animating corpses, not to living beyond your divinely-appointed time.

Clerics also have Domains, and each cleric dedicates themselves to one Divine Domain to the exclusion of all others. This might suggest that clerics are supposed to specialize in the cult of one particular deity among a pantheon, or, if you want this religion to be monotheistic, to the study and veneration of a particular aspect of the Divine’s creation. Offensive spells and armor proficiencies suggest that clerics serve in a military capacity to some degree, perhaps as crusaders for the faith. This to me indicates some central authority or institutional hierarchy, so I would lean more towards the latter.

The cleric’s spell list is heavy on divination, which suggests a belief in predestination, but no particular precept against predicting the course of destiny. Perhaps part of the clerics’ role is interpreting the will of the Divine. Lots of radiant damage suggests an association of light with the Divine’s power.
As a thought experiment, I could look at several of these same things – Turn Undead, raise dead and animate dead being on the cleric spell list, and lots of divination magic – and come up with a completely different interpretation.

This faith uses divination to determine the purity of a soul. Those who go to a blessed afterlife are left in peace. It's those who were troubled, impure, or violated the faith's precepts who most likely to be raised (and geased if necessary) for their "glorious second life." Whereas to become undead is considered the greatest sacrifice only made by enlightened souls who deny themselves the afterlife to continue their duty in eternity. However, becoming undead is harrowing, and it dredges up any darkness in the soul, and this is why cleric are able to keep the sanctified undead at bay – so that they might learn from their brethren who made the ultimate sacrifice.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
As a thought experiment, I could look at several of these same things – Turn Undead, raise dead and animate dead being on the cleric spell list, and lots of divination magic – and come up with a completely different interpretation.

This faith uses divination to determine the purity of a soul. Those who go to a blessed afterlife are left in peace. It's those who were troubled, impure, or violated the faith's precepts who most likely to be raised (and geased if necessary) for their "glorious second life." Whereas to become undead is considered the greatest sacrifice only made by enlightened souls who deny themselves the afterlife to continue their duty in eternity. However, becoming undead is harrowing, and it dredges up any darkness in the soul, and this is why cleric are able to keep the sanctified undead at bay – so that they might learn from their brethren who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Absolutely, that’s also a valid interpretation. This is why I agree with @Umbran, this thought experiment seems more about creating a religious system that’s consistent with the cleric class, rather than built around it.
 

Voadam

Legend
To build a faith upon the class I would focus on the class features.

They gain medium armor and simple weapons so part of the faith would be compatible with going into combat.

Class skills include history, insight, medicine, persuasion, and religion. Scholar, councilor, doctor, diplomat type concepts could come in.

There is the turn undead universal ability so some relationship to undead. This ties into the religion skill as well.

Domains are a big aspect of the class so maybe build aspects of the faith around them. Possibly a pantheon or collection of saints or multiple important aspects of one god/religion.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
I tend to think of DnD Clerics as Temple-Knights who serve as the militant arm of their Faiths. They differ from Priests who are the more ‘sage‘ non-martial preachers.
I do sometimes wonder though functionally how do Clerics and their gods differ from warlocks and their patrons? (especially Celestial warlocks)

anyway the assumptions are
  • Devotion to deity and their tenants (Domain) is proper and beneficial
  • Faith that the god-patron will grant reliable divine powers (after a daily morning ritual)
  • Conviction that preserving Life (healing) is good, Undead are anathema
  • Belief that the cleric is a fighter in a spiritual battle (hence all the shield/combat spellspowers)
 

NotAYakk

Legend
In the world I'm working on for the after(tm), churches are places that deal with divine magic and power. They imbue worthy servants using holy relics they believe are associated with the god of the church.

Direct communication with dieties "in the clear" is mythological, and generally communing with higher powers is cryptic or insanity inducing. The theological belief is our minds are not strong enough to handle it. (this is not quite the truth, but what is).

These churches maintain monestaries (where training and "relic grunt work" occurs) and temples (where they offer services and do community building).

"Relic grunt work" is a little like prayer wheels. Much of the work of making scroll-equivalents can be done by labour intensive lay monks, and it is.believed that the prayers of the monks help recharge the relics used to create clerics.

Now, not all clerics come out of such a system. Most temples and monestaries have thibgs they claim to be relics, and sometimes said relics bless someone without an active ritual. Higher power relics - ones whose blessings are more reliable and recharge faster - are centralized and used to provide the "mainstream" cleric forces of the church.

As these mainstream clerics can be selected relatively reliably, only the most dedicated and pious and connected get the blessing.

The most common way clerics operate is actually consuming scrolls. The process of gaining XP or power by practice or combat doesn't work; PCs are unusual that way. So most clerics get better with.praxtice, and their potential is limited by the relic's blessing.

They usually use scrolls to cast most of their spell services. Using the right techniques they can get advantage on tge required checks, and making 5th level scrolls is easier than 9th level clerics.

(The same, as an aside, is true of wizards: they are mostly just experts at making and reading scrolls. This keeps the flow of X level Y spells/day down, world-building wise.)
 

The difference, of course, being that in our world, field agents get old and slow and don't get any better. Meanwhile, clerics go up in level, and become powerhouses.

But, if you want to ignore that - and you feel the gods will ignore that, that's fine.
it is more level 20 clerics still tend to feel old age thus they eventually have to slow down and move off the front line, druids do not have this problem nor do monks.
I tend to think of DnD Clerics as Temple-Knights who serve as the militant arm of their Faiths. They differ from Priests who are the more ‘sage‘ non-martial preachers.
I do sometimes wonder though functionally how do Clerics and their gods differ from warlocks and their patrons? (especially Celestial warlocks)

anyway the assumptions are
  • Devotion to deity and their tenants (Domain) is proper and beneficial
  • Faith that the god-patron will grant reliable divine powers (after a daily morning ritual)
  • Conviction that preserving Life (healing) is good, Undead are anathema
  • Belief that the cleric is a fighter in a spiritual battle (hence all the shield/combat spellspowers)
I assume warlock may work for faith but with plausible deniability, as they are logically useful as deniable proxies in an inter pantheon conflict.

Does anyone know the list of cleric sub classes for when I have to build a pantheon?
 

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