log in or register to remove this ad

 

Poll : Do you allow godless clerics?

Do you like/allow clerics without a diety?

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

    Votes: 14 5.4%
  • I don't like godless clerics for flavor/homebrew gameworld reasons.

    Votes: 115 44.6%
  • I don't like godless clerics for other reasons I will outline below.

    Votes: 5 1.9%
  • I'm OK with godless clerics.

    Votes: 76 29.5%
  • I love godless clerics!

    Votes: 40 15.5%
  • I never knew you could have a cleric without a patron god until reading this thread...

    Votes: 8 3.1%

  • Total voters
    258

Storm Raven

First Post
Kahuna Burger said:
I'd say you're missing the point, but its looks more likely that you're ducking it.


Actually, it looks like you are missing the point.

The cleric class represents divine casters... casters who derive their powers through some form of spirituality.

No, the class represents those who have divinely obtained powers. Spirituality doesn't enter into the equation at all. One could easily be a D&D cleric with no spirituality of any sort, so long as one had a divine power from which your powers spring.

The actual descriptions of divine power indicate that sentient dieties are only one source of it. There are numerous real world examples of diety free spirituality. Saying that they could only be represented by a magic free npc class is saying in almost so many words that "they aren't real religions". Its insulting and serves no purpose.

No, it says that they aren't best reflected by the Catholic church inspired deity driven class used by D&D. Your narrow view (all people who are spritiual must be clerics) blinds you to the fact that spirituality is not the exclusive province of clerics. In point of fact, clerics should be the exception, not the rule, like all PC classes. In point of fact, most individuals of a psiritual bent should be Experts or something similar, because clerics are rare to begin with. Assuming that certain spiritual devotions are better represented by classes other than the cleric isn't insulting them, it is reflecting the fact that the cleric class doesn't fit all spiritual paths, many would be better reflected by a a cadre of educated experts, or monks of various stripes, or adepts, among other choices.

With the exception of faith healers and other frauds, there aren't a lot of real world traditions that claim to give access to planned, controllable bursts of supernatural energy.

Have you read Exodus recently? Most of the classic clerical spells in D&D are drawn from there.

Therefore, NO religion should have "in D&D terms" spellcasting power. So I guess clerics don't exist... :rolleyes: In fact, cleric is a class. Its used to represent a) a certain style of magic and b) a certain kind of character. I and others have easily fit characters unconcerned with gods, or even rejecting of gods into both the mechanics and flavor of the class with no problem.

You may think it does, but, of course, the designers of the Scarred Lands, Greyhawk, and Forgotten Realms disagree with you. A godless cleric may be technically permitted by the rules of the game, but they don't fit the character class design at all.
 
Last edited:

log in or register to remove this ad

Storm Raven

First Post
Kahuna Burger said:
It seems like your players can't contribute to your world except by filling the roles that you've laid out and approved.


No one is required to play a divine spellcaster. Playing a divine spellcaster comes with associated baggage. If you don't want the associated baggage, play a different type of character.

Just to clarify your policy here, if someone wanted to play a non cleric class with an alternate religion (say a small one centered in their home village) would you reject that even as a background choice with no impact on the stats?


If it was a godless religion? And he wanted to play a cleric of that godless relgion? Yep. Rejected outright. Godless clerics don't exist in the campaign. All divine power has a specific divine source. Ideals and alignments don't provide power on their own.

If it was cast as a religion devoted to a minor deity that had not previously been detailed? Maybe. It depends on the deity and whether it fits into the campaign.
 
Last edited:

Kahuna Burger

First Post
Storm Raven said:
No, it says that they aren't best reflected by the Catholic church inspired deity driven class used by D&D. Your narrow view...

*snicker* that about says it all, doesn't it? You are so hung up on the idea that the cleric class is possibly inspired by the catholic church (no idea if it was orriginally or not) that you can't look at the options actually presented by the class as currently written, and I have a narrow view. Plonk and a half, sorry, no more time for this.

Kahuna burger
 


Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Storm Raven said:
Actually, I thought I did. For example, in each write up concerning a deity, I outlined the things that were important to that deity, and what sorts of characteristics priests of that divine power would be expected to emulate and promote. I'm getting the impression that the player in question didn't read the material on deities I gave out before the campaign started.

Well, here's the thing - handing a person a writeup does not constitute a "discussion". :) Giving them a paper, allowing them to read it, and then asking if they understand, want clarifications, or have any problems with it would be more like a discussion.

Gamers are people, too. If people cannot be counted on to RTFM, then don't expect gamers to do so. :)
 

fusangite

First Post
I have another question of those favouring godless clerics: what are examples in history/myth that you are basing this role on? What philosophies have priests? I would argue that movements/institutions that are not theistic do not produce priests; they may produce scholars; they may produce philosophers; they may produce mages but are there examples of them producing priests?
 

jasamcarl

First Post
fusangite said:
I have another question of those favouring godless clerics: what are examples in history/myth that you are basing this role on? What philosophies have priests? I would argue that movements/institutions that are not theistic do not produce priests; they may produce scholars; they may produce philosophers; they may produce mages but are there examples of them producing priests?

The other side of the coin in such a question is what religions have produced clerics of the types we see in DnD, who have such a broad range of real power? The answer is none, which makes the question irrelevant; its symantics. The cleric class is simply a mechanical option, and I see nothing wrong with allowing it to represent the broadly spiritual as oppossed to any formal, dogmatic faith. And I think you will find that there was little historical division between arcane/divine abilities; it's a later pulp coceit.

Platonism and later forms of neo-platonism and the more parochial mysticism were all about bringing the spiritual into one's sense of real, which is what spells do. It's all fluff anyway, but I don't see how one can quible with an idea which is just as intuitive as gaining power from a burly giant who is both physical and something more.
 

Storm Raven

First Post
Kahuna Burger said:
*snicker* that about says it all, doesn't it? You are so hung up on the idea that the cleric class is possibly inspired by the catholic church (no idea if it was orriginally or not) that you can't look at the options actually presented by the class as currently written, and I have a narrow view.

The class, as currently written, is heavily influenced by its quasi-Catholic roots. Maybe you aren't able to see this, but even with all of the options clothing the basic root that are out there now, it still bears the clear marks of its origin. And as such, isn't very suitable for some particular spritual devotions.

Perhaps you were thinking that the class, with vast numebrs of the spells available drawn directly from sources like Exodus, a forbiddance against using edged weapons (now discarded), the ability to heal, and mastery over the undead and demons wasn't designed directly based upon a somewhat warped view of mideaevil Catholicism. If so, you need to do some more research before you start opining on what the class is or is not suitable for.

Your narrow view that "spritiual = cleric" is your fundamental failing on this. Clerics are but one expression the game system has for spiritual characters. The game has a number of others: adept, expert, monk, the various psionic classes, heck, even the wizard and sorcerer easily cover some theological archetypes.
 

jasamcarl

First Post
Storm Raven said:
The class, as currently written, is heavily influenced by its quasi-Catholic roots. Maybe you aren't able to see this, but even with all of the options clothing the basic root that are out there now, it still bears the clear marks of its origin. And as such, isn't very suitable for some particular spritual devotions.

Perhaps you were thinking that the class, with vast numebrs of the spells available drawn directly from sources like Exodus, a forbiddance against using edged weapons (now discarded), the ability to heal, and mastery over the undead and demons wasn't designed directly based upon a somewhat warped view of mideaevil Catholicism. If so, you need to do some more research before you start opining on what the class is or is not suitable for.

Your narrow view that "spritiual = cleric" is your fundamental failing on this. Clerics are but one expression the game system has for spiritual characters. The game has a number of others: adept, expert, monk, the various psionic classes, heck, even the wizard and sorcerer easily cover some theological archetypes.

Alot of DnD conventions were inspired by a midevil sense of the supernatural, but even in the Middle Ages the method one used to achieve alchemical metals and a number of things varied in the minds of those who partook in these activities. Many times mystics were explicitly not a part of the Church and did not buy into the Dualistic vision of reality that had become church doctrine (i.e. a kingdom of man and a kingdom of god). Many people thought that the world we live in was not at all real or essential and that it could be morphed through faith/wisdom as oppossed to relying on a proffessional priesthood to offer prayers to god and wait for the all mightly to impose his singular will on us all.

You are thinking with more of a Jerusalum mindset and less with an Athenian.
 

Henry

Autoexreginated
Ladies and Gentlemen, let's not stray TOO far into discussion of mysticism and medieval catholic mindsets. It's getting rather heated, which is fine, but I see it's starting to get a little personal, which ain't too fine and dandy.

Let's avoid any suppositions about one another's religious beliefs, also.

Also, to clarify a point, I do recall Gary Gygax once noting that Cleric influences were characters like Archbishop Turpin from "The Song of Roland."
 

Xeriar

First Post
fusangite said:
I have another question of those favouring godless clerics: what are examples in history/myth that you are basing this role on? What philosophies have priests? I would argue that movements/institutions that are not theistic do not produce priests; they may produce scholars; they may produce philosophers; they may produce mages but are there examples of them producing priests?

Ever heard of the Dalai Lama?

Or a Buddhist Monk? Serving in something called a Pagoda?

There are frequent walking on water legends (My favourite though is:
Monk1: I've done it. For fifteen years, I have tried and failed, but yesterday I managed to walk on water.
Monk2: You moron, you've wasted 15 years of your life and the ferry is 5 bucks.)

There are also tales of healing and curing, and the ability to raise the dead (though this would be abbhorant, it would be bringing someone back into the land of suffering).

Taoism is best exemplefied by either the monk class or the Force from Star Wars (seeing as how it was based on Taoism). Maybe psionics. There are stories of self-healing but you can't force Taoism on another unless they've already accepted it.

Taoists who would be priests would probably also be Shinto or some other form of Animism-like thing (ie Shugenja in Rokugan).

Buddhism however is in its entirety a much more diverse. Either you make an entirely new spell list or you give them the cleric class and the choice of some domains (not sure what, actually, since IIRC healing has the raise dead and ressurection powers in it).
 

Xeriar

First Post
jasamcarl said:
The other side of the coin in such a question is what religions have produced clerics of the types we see in DnD, who have such a broad range of real power? The answer is none, which makes the question irrelevant; its symantics. The cleric class is simply a mechanical option, and I see nothing wrong with allowing it to represent the broadly spiritual as oppossed to any formal, dogmatic faith. And I think you will find that there was little historical division between arcane/divine abilities; it's a later pulp coceit.

I believe it's supposed to reflect the 'holy warrior' ideal.

Which made me wonder about Paladins after Skills and Powers in 2e, but that's a digression.

Non-proselytize religions tend to have utterly seperate warrior and 'priestly' castes, as in Hinduism and ancient Persian faith, I believe the Egyptians did as well.

For some the concept of holy warriors is just anethma - ie Jainism.

Proselytizing religions - even Buddhism, have this 'holy warrior' concept, though.

There was a division between arcane and divine abilities in Christendom - wizards and witches got their power from Satan... Division enough for some, anyway.
 

Xeriar

First Post
Storm Raven said:
Perhaps you were thinking that the class, with vast numebrs of the spells available drawn directly from sources like Exodus, a forbiddance against using edged weapons (now discarded), the ability to heal, and mastery over the undead and demons wasn't designed directly based upon a somewhat warped view of mideaevil Catholicism. If so, you need to do some more research before you start opining on what the class is or is not suitable for.

The no edged weapons was from Egypt, I believe (Amenhotep forbid the use of edged weapons. Preisthood didn't like him and made sure his son, Tutenkhamen, didn't get so far). Those flails often death death with very pointy parts.

But there is no hard line rule that says the cleric class must be modeled after 9th century Christianity. It's supposed to be able to handle other faiths, and by extension, other faith systems (though in my opinion it does so poorly, it's the easist to start with).
 

tzor

First Post
First of all, it is difficult, if not impossible, to correctly determine or even assume that we can correctly determine the influences that made decisions in the early editions of D&D.

I think we can safely assume that everything influenced D&D and thus the cleric class in various ways, and one of those influences was the preceived view of the medieval mindset which has to by its very nature include the Catholic Church.

People were driving away vampires with crosses long before D&D so the notion of turning undead comes from culture, not per se from medieval sources. The holy water rules are clearly from glances at the Catholic Church, including the early edition notion that he who had the biggest most expensive font made the most holy water.

Of coruse early editions didn't have things like domains or anything else that would have made a deity other than a label which the cleric would invoke as a part of his preaching. The notion of clerical spells is derived from the same Vancian source as all the other spell types (cleric, druid, illusionist and wizard in AD&D) and have no relation to any preceived medieval mindset whatsoever.

Indeed one might even look at the whole situation in black and white ... literally. This is the Leiber model where evil wizards are represented by the black wizards and the good wizards, known as white wizards tend to be in the service of some deity. Leiber does derive his notion from a somewhat misunderstood notion of white magic and dark magic, a notion that was indeed discussed before the general witch craze banned all practice of preceived magic. (Herbalism was generally considered "magic" in the medieval mindset.)

Some elements in AD&D were used merely for game balance. Take the blunt weapon rule. The rule simply allows fighters to have an advantage over clerics, because swords were better than maces. Of course in the first edition, maces, morning stars and flails were hopelessly confused and confusing to many players. I know I was one who thought the "Holy Water Sprinkler" was the mace like thing that priests used to sprinkle holy water on people during Easter.

Of course little of this has a direct impact on the notion of non specific deity worshiping clerics. With a common faith for the most part being the only thing documented, it's hard to derive anything from the medieval mindset. (We tend to think of the medieval mindset as a time of a single religion, but many other faiths especially gnostic ones were also common at the time.) AD&D druids, for example are generally deity less, but they formed a strict heirarchy and had limited advancement.
 

WayneLigon

Adventurer
I voted 'Not like for flavor reasons', but it depends on the world I'm running at the time. In most of mine, the mere idea of a cleric not tied to a patron diety isn't possible. Can't do it, no way, no how. I have a couple worlds, though, where that would work; effectively, they are almost tapping the same power source that druids do in the other worlds: they commune with the spirits in and around everything and so draw power from them based on that. In those worlds that do allow 'godless' clerics, the druids serve the archtypical idea of 'the land'. Since it's a creation-based magic (and other blah blah flavor that I won't relate here), it's a Divine source.
 

Storm Raven

First Post
Xeriar said:
The no edged weapons was from Egypt, I believe (Amenhotep forbid the use of edged weapons. Preisthood didn't like him and made sure his son, Tutenkhamen, didn't get so far). Those flails often death death with very pointy parts.


No. It came from a papal edict (not much observed) that priests were forbidden from "drawing blood". Some members of the catholic clergy got around this by using maces, and staves which supposedly didn't run afoul of this prohibition.

But there is no hard line rule that says the cleric class must be modeled after 9th century Christianity. It's supposed to be able to handle other faiths, and by extension, other faith systems (though in my opinion it does so poorly, it's the easist to start with).


The point is that is what the cleric class was originally based on, and as such, does a weak to awful job at emulating members of the priesthood of various other traditions.
 
Last edited:


jasamcarl

First Post
Storm Raven said:
[/b]

No. It came from a papal edict (not much observed) that priests were forbidden from "drawing blood". Some members of the catholic clergy got around this by using maces, and staves which supposedly didn't run afoul of this prohibition.

[/b]

The point is that is what the cleric class was originally based on, and as such, does a weak to awful job at emulating members of the priesthood of various other traditions.

None of which matters. The concept itself has to be intuitive, it doesn't have to perfectly emulate it. It's an explanation. The specific manifistations can be explained as a product of the caster's will or whatnot. So why do you think its a dumb idea again?
 

Xeriar

First Post
Storm Raven said:
The point is that is what the cleric class was originally based on, and as such, does a weak to awful job at emulating members of the priesthood of various other traditions.

Well, I see there was an original point about members of godless religions not having (ahem) kewl powerz which is what I was originally argueing against, but noone has responded to the last posts I made on that subject.
 

Jakathi

First Post
huh

there are a couple of examples of 'godless' clerics
druids might be considered godless, because they worship nature as a whole.

and i suspect that Jedi Knights are a kind of cleric or monk. Instead of worshipping a diety, they serve the life energy itself.
 

Halloween Horror For 5E

Advertisement2

Advertisement4

Top