Sources of Cleric Power

Writing up my Secret Santicore entry today got me flexing my random table muscles. And then this post provided a wacky explanation for clerics. I’ve always liked the idea of the cleric as a mortal siphon for SOMETHING. What is that something? Here’s a table. This is more a collection of other people’s ideas, but a few are original.

  1. Celestial bureaucracy; preparing a spell requires paperwork and approval
  2. Sorcerer king; cleric is a templar, like in Dark Sun
  3. Parasite; cleric is a cosmic thief, roll again for source (cleric will be in trouble if the source finds out)
  4. Hierarch; cleric can delegate spells in the same way that the deity can grant them, roll again for source
  5. Hierarch; source is a higher-level cleric (it’s turtles all the way up)
  6. Machine; orbiting AI like in ASE1
  7. Machine; ancient device buried in the underworld
  8. Machine; cloistered in a temple, maintained (controlled?) by high-ranking priests
  9. Imprisoned higher being; celestial battery (think Trigun)
  10. Demon; cleric is a warlock (think Elric)
  11. Aspect-based pantheon; cleric often engaged in tasks for the god’s personal vanity (think Greek mythology)
  12. Faction-based pantheon; cleric is a soldier in a cosmic battle (think Book of Revelation or Jotunn versus Aesir); spells are granted like ordnance
  13. Vampiric; cleric must steal spells (or spell slots) from other magic-users or clerics, perhaps by ritually slaying them, or perhaps the cleric does not understand how spells are acquired
  14. Monotheistic; could be explicitly Christian (see Blood of Prokopius)
  15. Ancestors; spells are granted by the spirits of deceased family members
  16. Deiphores; clerics feast on the flesh of dead gods (source)
  17. Aliens; gods are actually advanced starfaring extraterrestrials (think Clarke’s third law and Stargate)
  18. The Prince; political power fuels godhood in a similar way to how believers are sometimes explained as the source of a god’s power
  19. Bodhisattvas; enlightened beings who remain in the world to benefit the unenlightened (they were once presumably mortal, and still exist in the material world)
  20. Spirits inhabiting rocks, trees, and other natural phenomena (think Japanese kami)

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