D&D General The Not-Cleric Class for the Other Powers

bedir than

Full Moon Storyteller
It's more a rewrite of the cleric list.

Cut the Cleric spell list in 3: Life, Light, and Death.
DMs can allow the Cleric players to swap out Life, Light, or Death spells with War, Peace, or Darkness spells.
THEN choose a Domain to add a new spell list or upgrade one of the their current lists.

A warlock would not have Life, Death, Light, Darkness, War or Peace. Warlocks would have Eldritch. DMs can choose to allow for a switch to Doom or Vestige spells. Then they pick a patron for another.

A Druid would have Nature spells. DMs could allow for Primeval, Stars, Tempest.
MUCH tighter spell lists for non-Wizards.

I'm in favor.
Bard could be narrowed down too.
 

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Stormonu

Legend
And, I take it rather the opposite way. The game is broadly agnostic to metaphysics. The game rules do not really care what "divine" is. So, if a particular GM says that, because they have followers, Taylor Swift (and the Beatles and Elvis before her) counts as "divine," that works just fine.
Well, now you've done it. I want to make a Paladin of the Order of Elvis, his companion the Warlock of the Princely One and the Bard of Our Lady GaGa.
 
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DammitVictor

Trust the Fungus
Supporter
Ideally, I would replace Wizard and Cleric entirely with much narrower classes.

Like the old 3.5 class tier system, I would replace all of the Tier 1/2 casters with a larger variety of Tier 3 spellcasters with more Bard-like features for poaching off of other lists.

Like... 3.5 Warmage gets more combat buffs, combine all the Necromancer PrCs, Beguiler/Arcane Trickster, combine the PF Summoner with the specialist Conjurer, Wu Jen/Shugenja.

Move most of the Cleric's spell list and powers into the Domains and let them pick 2 full Domains at 1st and one "half" domain at 6th/11th/16th.

Split the Druid into two classes: Circle of the Moon becomes a half-caster with Extra Attack and melee features, the full spellcasting Druid picks a terrain for Circle of the Land and then another non-Moon non-Land Circle.

MUCH tighter spell lists for non-Wizards.

I'm in favor.
Bard could be narrowed down too.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
MUCH tighter spell lists for non-Wizards.

I'm in favor.
Bard could be narrowed down too.
Bard is tough because it's flavor is being broad in the most broad way.

I still think there is a missing void for an elemental priest who can choose between Air, Earth, Fire and Earth spells and subclass into Ash, Ice, Magma, and Ooze.

Ooze priest. I channel the power of Blub Blub Blub and cast slime spray. The ogre is slipping and sliding and takes 14 acid damage.

Or Quasi-Elemental Priest subclasses: Dust, Salt, Smoke Vacuum or Lightning Mineral, Radiance, Steam

Banishing salt. Steriods Vitamins. SMOKE BOMB!

Note to self: Create evil priest of Evil Earth who acts like Hollywood Hulk Hogan and casts Vitamins on his Hulkamaniacs.

Anyone Else notice that Ash is now a Para and Smoke is a Quasi. They switched.
 

Well that's the question I am posing.

Would a massive primordial being of raw elemental earth and fire grant you the ability to cure wounds and raise the dead and summon angels?

Or would you get magma blast, death pyre, lava leap, and Channel Elements: Heat Vision?

Would a horror from another warped reality with otherworldly mind powers give you memory hole and id insinuation or guiding bolt and bless?

Would ritualistically consuming the scales of a primeval monster who are the first god of snakes let you breath its frost, grow its wings onto others, and regenerate your skin like the swallowed scale? Or do you become a light cleric?

D&D settings and many nonD&D settings have beings as powerful as the gods but with completely different natures and philosophy than the gods. The question is if they are that different, would they have a different class or power source based on their different connection to mortals.
I would say that GOO's would give you the power to "heal" someone (functionally heal in game terms), but 3 days, 5 hours, and 37 seconds later, the recipient of the "healing" is growing gills or their hair is turning into tentacles.... The GOO might not even know it, it is just their nature warps reality. Demon lords could be similar (it is just me or do all of them seem to want to change somebody's [or innocent hyena's] type into a monstrosity, undead, aberration or fiend). I could see that for elementals too.

Warlocks aren't really built for stuff like that (they are good for zapping people or sneaking around or "knowing stuff"). I think that wild magic sorcerers were supposed to cover it (the wild magic table does involve a fair amount of transformation, not to mention you could summarize the write up as "these are the guys who get power from warlock patrons without making a deal"). That being said, planar ally doesn't restrict itself to gods, and that is a cleric spell.
 

But that's the point of this thought experiment.

The core of the cleric and paladin's spell list is around healing, restoration, radiant energy, destroying undead and fiends, and summonings celestials. This is what it is to be Divine in D&D.

But D&D and many fans lump a bunch of powerful beings that do not have these themes into the Divine bucket and letting them create clerics with these themes.

Does an Aesir, Vanir, and Jotunn beam down the same energy to their agents and only sprinkle in their theme as suubclasses? Does a chulutonic entity envelop their agents with the same magics as a dragon-god of water and a magic oath to the King?

If D&D is going to lump all these beings together into the divine, then the cleric class should be a lot more flexible.

If D&D is going to restrain the cleric and paladin's magic for narrative and/or balance purposes, then additional resources to either alter the classes or create new ones should be warranted.

Like @Voadam stated, there used to be more priest classes and resources to alter priests in older editions. Perhaps a deep dive into worldbuilding would suggest an inclusion of a cleric specialization variant rule or additional priestly classes?
If you wish to, you can most certainly create new classes and spell lists to custom-fit concepts more closely than the existing classes do. I'm most definitely not going to suggest you can't do that. I was just thinking of ways you could work with the existing classes.

Most spellcaster classes have such a range of spells and abilities that you can represent a lot of concepts in just spell selection, and only the most retentive of DMs are going to force a player's character to follow a god if they are a cleric or force a character empowered by a deity (god or similarly divine non-god) to be a cleric.

5e Paladins have never required gods, merely an oath. A character empowered by the primordial snake god could be a cleric, and pick spells and subclass to reflect that. Or they could be better represented by a druid. The follower of the volcano god could also be a druid and the druid spell list is expansive enough that they could come across as completely different from the snake god druid character. Or the volcano god devotee could be represented by a red draconic sorceror if that fits better with the player's vision.

The cleric spell list has a lot of support spells on it because that is the role that the character became in earlier editions. A player isn't required to select any of those support spells if that doesn't fit with the concept. Spells can also be reflavoured to fit the character concept: a celestial summoned by the snake god cleric might be a coatl, but one summoned by the volcano god worshipper might not the the usual radiant being descending on feathered wings, but might be a being of pure lava bursting out of the earth amid gouts of smoke for example.

Divine, primal etc are words that don't have much meaning in 5e and you should not feel limited by them when they do appear. Its your game and reflavouring is free.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
If you wish to, you can most certainly create new classes and spell lists to custom-fit concepts more closely than the existing classes do. I'm most definitely not going to suggest you can't do that. I was just thinking of ways you could work with the existing classes.

Most spellcaster classes have such a range of spells and abilities that you can represent a lot of concepts in just spell selection, and only the most retentive of DMs are going to force a player's character to follow a god if they are a cleric or force a character empowered by a deity (god or similarly divine non-god) to be a cleric.

5e Paladins have never required gods, merely an oath. A character empowered by the primordial snake god could be a cleric, and pick spells and subclass to reflect that. Or they could be better represented by a druid. The follower of the volcano god could also be a druid and the druid spell list is expansive enough that they could come across as completely different from the snake god druid character. Or the volcano god devotee could be represented by a red draconic sorceror if that fits better with the player's vision.

The cleric spell list has a lot of support spells on it because that is the role that the character became in earlier editions. A player isn't required to select any of those support spells if that doesn't fit with the concept. Spells can also be reflavoured to fit the character concept: a celestial summoned by the snake god cleric might be a coatl, but one summoned by the volcano god worshipper might not the the usual radiant being descending on feathered wings, but might be a being of pure lava bursting out of the earth amid gouts of smoke for example.

Divine, primal etc are words that don't have much meaning in 5e and you should not feel limited by them when they do appear. Its your game and reflavouring is free.
The cleric, druid, warlock, and sorcerer spell list do not contain the spells to portray some concepts well. And subclasses have limited ability to add to them before making the class overpowered as TCOE shows.

It's essentially the Wildshape problem.
  • You let the druid transform into any beast and create a statblock for each common beast form. Mechanically a druid transformed into a bear, wolf, or lion would feel more accurate to the lore. A lot of work.
  • You let the druid transform into any beast and create a basic template to represent multiple best forms without mechanical changes. Mechanically the bear or boar has the same form but the druid can be both or even a combination with no additional work.
  • You let the druid transform into any beast and create a basic template to represent multiple best forms with mechanical options. Mechanically the bear or boar has the same form but the druid can alter the form to be slightly more accurate mechanically and narratively with additional work.
With this situation
  • You let the player choose cleric, druid, warlock, and sorcerer and create additional classes to represent an deity-agent relationships and spell-list not present. A lot of work.
  • You let the player choose cleric, druid, warlock, and sorcerer and their subclasses to create an agent of a deity or not-deity. For some it work work fine. For others due to class limitations, there might be mechanical and narrative dissonance as you'd be pretending an angel is a magma beast or that a radiant blast is psionic assault.
  • You let the player choose cleric, druid, warlock, and sorcerer and create a subclasses for each theme of every a deity or not-deity in the setting.
Any option is valid.

Just acknowledging that the gaps exist and aresignificant. It'll be worse when the new books come out.

There are no Air, Earth, or Water subclasses now. Just a mismatch in Tempest. At least Sea is coming.
No Archery or Hunter spellcaster subclasses for g or ods of the hunt, archery gods, and primal hunters.
Nothing for Wood/Plants or Metal either.
We have Order but no Chaos.
We have Light but no Darkness.
Knowledge and Trickery but no Secrets.
Giants are repesented by Barbarians.
Nothing for Monstrosities.
Freedom or Liberty
Sun, Moon, Stars, and Land but no Comet. Sad Sigmar Noises
Life, Death, and Grave but no Plague.
Crown but no Commoner.

Plently of holes for driven 3PPs.
 


Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
On the topic of "small gods" - I really like "using" them in my world building as the source of certain "minor" source of magic. Magic initiate because you are the chosen "high priest" of a small family god? Makes a lot of sense to me!
 

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