Tag Archives: cleric


James Tissot - Noah's Sacrifice

James Tissot – Noah’s Sacrifice (source)

This is an extension and refinement (I hope) of some recent ideas regarding cleric magic. It has some atmosphere that I like, but I worry that it is A) too complicated and B) overpowered. Opinions on both of those aspects would be appreciated.

There are four categories of cleric magic, called petitions. All require calling upon holy power, and thus are subject to mysterious divine whims. The four categories are commands, prayers, rituals, and abjurations. The first three types of cleric powers map to the three game timescales: combat rounds, dungeon exploration turns, and days (the turn unit for wilderness exploration). A petition requires the given amount of time to attempt, at the end of which a petition check is made (see below). Thus, commands are the only petitions that can be used during combat since they only require a round. No petitions need to be prepared beforehand, with the exception of abjurations.

The petition check uses 2d6 and works much like a reaction roll. Half level (round up) is added as a bonus. An unmodified 2 is always a failure and an unmodified 12 is always a success. An abjuration petition check of 2 ends the abjuration. Thus, if you roll a 2 for turn undead, your deity has deserted you. A vial of holy water may be used for a +1 bonus to the petition check (holy water is encumbering, may be used no more than once per check, and is consumed when used in this way). Petition checks for commands and abjurations are opposed (penalized) by enemy hit dice. Other petition checks have a difficulty numer (equivalent to the old spell level ranking) which is listed in the table of petitions below (in parentheses).

Petition Roll
2d6 Result
2 or less Abandoned (given petition no longer available this session, abjuration ends)
3, 4, 5 Spurned (further attempting this petition is at -1)
6, 7, 8 Ignored (failure, may try again with no penalties)
9, 10, 11 Answered (standard success)
12 or more Rewarded (double effect, demons or undead destroyed, etc)

Abjurations are defensive magics, and only one can be active at any given time. The player must decide which before the session starts. They function like rituals in that they require a day of preparation, but they then remain active during the entire following day. Petition checks are used when the abjuration is challenged rather than when the ritual is performed. So, for example, if a demon attempts to touch a cleric that has protection from evil active, then the player rolls a petition check (penalized by the demon’s HD) to see if the demon is able to overcome the holy protection. Abjurations also have their dangers: in some situations, they may function as beacons.

Cleric Petitions
Level Command Prayer Ritual Abjuration
1 turn undead
2 cure light wounds (1)
detect evil (1)
detect magic (1)
light (1)
purify food & water (1) protection from evil
4 hold person speak with animals (2)
find traps (2)
6 sticks to snakes neutralize poison (4)
cure serious wounds (4)
speak with plants (4)
remove curse (3)
cure disease (3)
locate object (3)
protection from evil, 10’r (4)
create water (4)
continual light
7 dispel evil
raise dead (5)
commune (5)
insect plague (5)
create food (5)

The metaconcept of spell level has been discarded (though you can still see some of the spell levels show up as difficulty numbers), and the various petitions have been bound to character level directly. The levels that various powers are gained at is the same as in the 3 LBBs. I’m pretty sure this is not the best arrangement; the various powers should probably be more evenly distributed around the levels (that’s probably a task for a future post). It is particularly odd that the level 3 and 4 spells both become available at cleric level 6 in the original rules. It may seem like cleric levels 3 and 5 are “dead,” but this is actually not the case as the “half level” (competency) bonus is incremented at both of those levels.

Some specific spell interpretations using this system. Cure spells may not be used more than once per character per encounter (and may cause aging). Continual light is a ward against shadows, functions as sunlight, penalizes or prevents hide in shadows (depending on situation) and moves with the person of the cleric. Purify food & water is not usable offensively against water weirds unless you can force them to sit still for a long time.

These changes may grant the cleric more power. The petition check system introduces the chance of failure in any given situation and also consumes diegetic time (potentially exposing the PCs to random encounters). Despite those balancing factors, it seems like the cleric should formally become the “medium armor” adventurer (as she probably always should have been) so that heavy armor can become the purview of the fighter.

Some petition check examples:

  1. A level 6 cleric prays for speak with plants. Spend 1 dungeon exploration turn in prayer, then roll 2d6 +3 -4, which simplifies to 2d6 -1, and consult the petition roll table. If the result is a failure (but not a 2 or less), the cleric can try again if another turn is spent.
  2. A 2 HD demon attempts to challenge the protection from evil abjuration of a fifth level cleric. Player rolls 2d6 +3 -2, which simplifies to 2d6 +1, and consults the petition roll table to see if the abjuration holds the demon at bay. Even if the demon overcomes the abjuration, as long as a 2 or less is not rolled, the abjuration endures and the demon will need to overcome it again for further attacks.

The system is designed to almost guarantee success (just like how I handle thief skills) as long as enough time is spent, assuming 2 or less is not rolled.

Raise dead

In OD&D, clerics gain access to the raise dead spell upon reaching seventh level. One of the cleric characters in my current campaign is at fifth level right now, and has a pile of unspent treasure. The ability to restore life is right around the corner. This spell is potentially game-changing, and thus requires careful consideration. First, let’s look at the text (Men & Magic, page 33):

Raise Dead: The Cleric simply points his finger, utters the incantation, and the dead person is raised. This spell works with men, elves, and dwarves only. For each level the Cleric has progressed beyond the 8th, the time limit for resurrection extends another four days. Thus, an 8th level Cleric can raise a body dead up to four days, a 9th level Cleric can raise a body dead up to eight days, and so on. Naturally, if the character’s Constitution was weak, the spell will not bring him back to life. In any event raised characters must spend two game weeks time recuperating from the ordeal.

This description is characteristically ambiguous and demands interpretation. The way I read the timing rules, a seventh level cleric can only raise those freshly slain (one turn? one day?), since the example given has an 8th level cleric able to raise those that have been dead for four days, and that deadline increases by four days every further level gained.

The most obvious need for a ruling relates to constitution. What defines a “weak” constitution? Does this refer to the “withstand adversity” or survival chances given on page 11 of Men & Magic? (You can see the chances in my OD&D ability scores post.) That seems like a reasonable interpretation. I think a constitution check would be a more elegant resolution system, but I want to stay close to the original rules where possible.

The “two game weeks” recuperation fits nicely into how I have been handing time passage already. I assume that one week passes between sessions, representing downtime and recovery, unless there is some urgent reason compelling continuous adventuring (this happened once that I can remember, when the PCs were in pursuit of a sorcerer). So a raised PC would be unable to participate in the following session (the player could temporarily run a retainer). In game terms, this seems like a small XP progression speed bump (if a PC dies and is raised, they miss out on one session worth of XP).

The spell description says nothing about side effects, and of course there should be some. What marks are left on a character’s body or mind from a layover in the land of the dead? Are there cosmic consequences to calling someone back from eternal rest? Perhaps the land of the dead is forever drawn closer to the land of the living at the site of a raising. Perhaps there is a chance that something else comes back along with the soul of raised character. I have some half-baked thoughts on raise dead consequences here.

Here is a preliminary ruling. A raised character must make a survival check (using the percentage as determined by constitution score). Failure means the character is not raised, and can never be raised. If the check is successful, the character is restored to life but also loses a point of constitution permanently. Further, life and death are not to be trifled with, and there will almost certainly be some other consequence to tampering with the order of things.

Alternate cleric magic

Giotto – The Miracle of the Spring

Here is an idea for another way to do cleric magic, based on a d6 roll and my idea of competency (which is character level divided by 2, round up).

All cleric magic is ritualistic, and requires a turn (10 minutes) to attempt. This time represents the cleric petitioning for aid, reciting prayers or sutras, and so forth. Roll 1d6, add competency, subtract disfavor (see below), ritual succeeds on a 6. If the magic works, the cleric gains a point of disfavor. Disfavor is reset to zero when the cleric returns to civilization (generally, between sessions). Rituals available would be the standard spell list and max level of spell known would be equal to competency, just like for magic-users. Or maybe competency minus one to make it so that clerics don’t get any spells at first level.

Clerics are thus differentiated from magic-users, as cleric spells do not require preparation, are not useful during combat (unless they have been performed beforehand), and consume exploration time. This does slightly change the number of spells that can be cast per session. For example, a second level cleric would be able to get off two cures (or other spells) rather than one, but this is offset by the uncertain amount of time required to petition for aid.

Banishing demons or turning undead might also decrease effective competency, though I’m not sure if turning undead should require a roll or not.

Inspired partly by the patron disfavor system in DCC.


Brewing Potions

The Love Potion (from Wikipedia)

Magic-users (and, to a limited extent, clerics) can brew potions. The same game systems also apply to creating poison (for thieves) and incendiaries (for fighters). These items have no special use requirements, though some classes are better at creating them than others. For example, anyone can imbibe a potion of gaseous form brewed by a magic-user or coat a weapon with poison created by a thief.

To brew a potion, a recipe is required. Every recipe specifies one or more special components that are required, in addition to mundane ingredients and procedures. There may be more than one recipe for the same potion (each making use of different special components). Recipes can be discovered in play much like scrolls or purchased from specialists such as apothecaries (who tend not to share the secrets of their livelihood) or sages (who often charge ungodly prices).

Potion recipes have a level, just like spells. In order to brew a potion from the recipe, the character in question must be able to cast spells of the equivalent level. Potion components cost 500 GP and one week per level (so a second level potion would cost 1000 GP of ingredients and require two weeks of work). Like magic research, brewing potions may be done during downtime punctuated by adventuring, as long as too much time (by referee ruling) does not pass. Characters do not need to spend money separately to establish a laboratory. It is assumed that as items are created, the character naturally accumulates the paraphernalia required, and this is abstracted into the cost of ingredients.

Fighters and thieves should use the magic-user spell progression to determine if a given character is skilled and knowledgeable enough to create a particular item. Costs are identical (500 GP for level 1 poison, etc). The only significant difference is that each “brew” of poison results in 1d6 doses (unless otherwise specified in the recipe). Different poisons may also have different application methods (also by recipe), so one poison may be contact, one poison may be injected (i.e., for coating a weapon), another poison may end up being a beaker full of gas that may be hurled like a grenade. Mutatis mutandis for fighters. In addition to incendiaries, fighters can create (or oversee the creation of) siege engines and siege works. Schematics for these work exactly as other recipes, and are rated similarly by level.

Note that though the ability to brew potions is available to characters of any level (given appropriate class), the costs involved (along with the fact that spending GP results in XP) means that characters that craft several items (be they scrolls, potions, or something else) will naturally end up becoming higher level, with no other constraints required.

Optional rule: cross-class brewing. One kind of class may create the type of recipe items appropriate to another class (assuming a recipe and special components are available), but the the costs are doubled due to unfamiliarity and the crafting is only successful on a d20 roll less than or equal to the intelligence score. Upon failure, the components are not wasted, but another week must be spent (and another check made) until either the brewing is successful or the task is abandoned. In any case, the spent GP results in XP (learning from failure!).

I’m thinking that maybe each class should begin with one basic first level recipe (love potion, healing potion, minor firebomb, and minor poison, perhaps).

(In Hexagram, provisionally, the ability to brew potions comes with the alchemy trait, the ability to brew poison comes from the assassination trait, and the ability to craft incendiaries or do siege-work comes with the ranged combat and melee combat traits, respectively.)

Ghost traps

Sapphire image from Wikipedia

Ghost traps are items (most commonly gems) that have been enchanted to serve as prisons for spirits and incorporeal undead. Clerics of any level may create ghost traps with hit dice capacity no greater than their level. Ghost traps may contain no more than one spirit, even if the trapped spirit has hit dice less than the capacity of the trap. When occupied, a miniature version of the spirit can be seen leering within the gem, seemingly contorted and tormented.

To create a ghost trap, a cleric must have a gem of value equal to the desired hit dice capacity multiplied by 100 GP. For example, a 3 HD ghost trap requires a 300 GP gem. In addition, hit dice capacity * 100 GP must be spent on ritual components, and the whole process takes 1 week. There are some situations described below where a ghost trap is destroyed. In these cases, the gem crumbles to ash.

To use a ghost-trap, it must be strongly presented within 10′ of the spirit (this is a standard combat action). If the spirit fails its saving throw versus magic, it is imprisoned in the gem. A trap may also be thrown, but if the spirit makes its saving throw, there is a 1 in 6 chance that the gem will be destroyed when it hits the ground. Turned spirits do not get a saving throw and may be automatically imprisoned. All classes may use ghost traps, though clerics may set them as traps that will trigger when spirits draw near. An attempt to trap a spirit more powerful than the capacity of a given trap will automatically fail, and there is a 1 in 6 chance that the trap will be destroyed.

Trapped spirits may be released at any time, though they will generally be quite unhappy about having been imprisoned (-2 reaction). Releasing a spirit has a 1 in 6 chance of destroying the trap (otherwise it may be used again). Trapped spirits may speak telepathically with anyone touching the gem directly, will generally beseech any holder for freedom, and may promise all sorts of rewards (probably all lies). This contact is one-way, however, and it is impossible to communicate with a trapped spirit without using magic (see the magic-user ritual below).

Though only clerics can create ghost traps, many magic-users prize occupied ghost traps, as they believe that they are valuable currency in the land of the dead, and can also be used in arcane researches. Magic-users can also conduct rituals to communicate with trapped spirits. This requires 1d6 * 100 GP worth of components, and requires a saving throw versus spells. On a saving throw roll of 1, the spirit is released (or some other suitable magical mishap occurs). If the magic-user succeeds on the saving throw, the spirit will answer 1d6 yes/no questions to the best of its ability, and will be unable to lie.

(Though I know about Skyrim soul gems, the inspiration here is more Ghostbusters.)

(In Hexagram, the ability to create ghost traps comes with the banishment trait.)

Church Sorcerers

Cleric magic and wizard magic are often considered to be inherently different, with cleric magic flowing from gods and wizard magic flowing from something else. Third Edition formalized this by creating the categories “divine” and “arcane” for spells. Fourth Edition added the concept of power sources explicitly, including several other categories like “primal” for druids and “psionic” for mind powers. The differentiation was present before in the “spheres” of Second Edition and spell lists of First Edition too, but the metaphysics was ambiguous. The OD&D text hints in several ways that maybe the two kinds of magic are not actually so different.

What if there was no difference between cleric and wizard magic, and clerics were just church-sanctioned sorcerers? There would be no question about whether church-wizards were conversing directly with gods or causing miracles. In a way, it would be like governments controlling access to weapons, with the added wrinkle of “purity” systems that come with religion. The restricted spell list would make sense, because those would be the spells known and taught by church authorities. Perhaps they are only taught by certain sects, and are subject to schisms within the church proper. Such conflict could be grist for an entire campaign. Clerics less oriented to the holy warrior archetype could use the magic-user class mechanically, but with the cleric spell list.

This probably demands some sort of colors of magic system as well, to prevent the blandness of a magic-user without principles just accumulating and casting all the spells. A while back I wrote this thing about magical affinity, which is one way of doing it if you want to penalize stepping outside the archetype without totally forbidding it. Alternatively, you could also just handwave the restriction and assume that black wizards can’t cast white magic and vice versa (or maybe white wizards can be tempted to the dark side, but the transition is irreversible or very difficult to reverse).

Turning Variations

Excerpt from Men & Magic page 22

To the right you can see an excerpt from the original turn undead system from OD&D. This basic idea has filtered down through all TSR editions, though it was finally replaced by the bland damage mechanic of Third Edition. The way this table works is really nice mechanically. As the cleric gets more powerful, more types of undead can be automatically turned or destroyed, but a random roll is still require to see if the more powerful undead are affected. As elegant as the results are, it still requires a table. Maybe we can approximate the table with a simple rule? It’s been done before, but here are some other approaches.

The original system works by having auto-turn (and auto-destroy) values based on cleric level, and then adding a bonus of 1 to 3 from a random roll. The percentages behind that random roll are:

  • 2d6, 7+ = 58.22%
  • 2d6, 9+ = 27.78%
  • 2d6, 11+ = 8.33%
So, considering the max HD of the affected target, rolling 7+ gives you one extra HD, rolling 9+ gives you two extra HD, and rolling 11+ gives you three more HD (corresponding to skeleton, zombie, and ghoul on the first level of the turning table). Yes, the HD equivalent is not perfect, but these monsters also have some special abilities and immunities, so the equivalency is good enough for government work. Quantifying undead by HD is pretty much what all the clones do, also.
The traditional turing table works out to this:
  • Max HD of undead turned = (level – 1) + bonus
  • Max HD of enemy destroyed or banished = (level – 3) + bonus
There are several different ways to calculate the bonus. The most obvious and traditional method would be to use 2d6 as described above and remember that 7, 9, and 11 are the magic numbers (corresponding to +1, +2, and +3). One could also translate the equivalent percentages into d20 terms, as Swords & Wizardry and Second Edition did. The idea I’m considering is making it a single d6 roll such that:

  • 4 grants +1 HD
  • 5 grants +2 HD
  • 6 grants +3 HD

This dovetails nicely with some other mechanics that I am considering, but it does still require remembering 3 arbitrary numbers.

The level – 1 is also a bit inelegant (and an extra, if simple, math step in the common case). What if we allowed anyone (non-chaotic) to attempt turning undead, assuming they had a cross? That would be “zero level” turning, whereas classed characters would add their turning level to the roll. It would fit the literature (after all, characters other than Van Helsing can use holy symbols in Dracula, if I recall correctly). I’m not sure if that steps on the clerics toes too much or not. Given my general approach to thief abilities (anyone can try, thieves are just better), it seems reasonable. It would mean that “first level” turning ability would start at the Adept level. Just an idea. Or maybe (level – 1) is not that bad.
Also, the number of hit dice affected can just be Nd6 where N is the cleric level. I think that probably works better than any other way of counting how many undead are affected. In fact, if we wanted to go really simple, and still preserve the basic idea, we could replace the whole system with rolling for the number of HD affected, but also assume that the max HD of any creature turned is N + 2, and that undead of N – 3 HD are destroyed outright. That would mean a character with first level turning ability would be able to turn away 1d6 HD worth of undead, of up to 3 HD each. This could still easily lead to failures at first level even though you always successfully turn at least 1 HD. For example, you could roll a 1 or 2 against a group of multiple single-HD undead.

Assuming you wanted to get rid of the lookup table, which approach would you prefer? Or do you have an even better idea? Or am I a heretic for considering doing away with the table?

It’s notable that most of the clones have decreased the power of turn undead, requiring clerics to roll for weak undead, even as level increases (though with lower target numbers). For comparison, here are excerpts from the Swords & Wizardry WhiteBox and Labyrinth Lord turning tables, which don’t give any automatic results until 4th level:
Labyrinth Lord page 9

Swords & Wizardry WhiteBox page 34

Peter Cushing’s Van Helsing (Grognardia)

Magical Research Assistance

Image from Wikipedia

The only method given in the 3 LBBs for acquiring new spells is magical research. No mention is made of copying scrolls into spell books, as is common in many later editions. The magical research system (detailed on Men & Magic page 34) is based on GP investment followed by a percentile roll for success. Costs per 20% chance are, by level of spell:

  1. 2000 GP
  2. 4000 GP
  3. 8000 GP
  4. 16000 GP
  5. 32000 GP
  6. 64000 GP

There are no spells above sixth level that can be prepared in spell slots (though there may exist more powerful ritual magic). The expense is cumulative, so that if you spend 10000 GP on researching a first level spell, there is a 100% chance of success. One week per spell level is required per attempt.

This is quite expensive, but in my game there are some house rules for increasing the chances of success without investing more GP. Here are some such ways (a few are based on ideas described in more detail in Spells by Reverse Engineering & Dissection). The epiphenomena of researched spells will likely be affected by the type of research employed.

Reverse Engineering
If you are willing to destroy a magic item in pursuit of magical insight, that is worth a 20% bonus to the spell research roll. The item must be relevant to the spell effect in some way. Note that this covers using scrolls in magical research rather than casting the spell from them directly.
If you can procure (by capture or purchase) a magical creature that is related in some way to the spell being researched, that is worth a 20% bonus to the spell research roll. For example, a creature that can use shadows as portals might be useful for researching dimension door. Mundane creatures are not generally useful for this bonus (thus, dissecting birds does not help with researching fly).
Studying Another Magic-User’s Spell Book
You can’t just copy a spell, but if you have access to another magic-user’s version of a spell, that is worth a 20% bonus to the spell research roll. Access to a grimoire works also.
Human Sacrifice
Magic-users with flexible morals may consume sentient, intelligent lives to help power their dark investigations. The number of souls required for a 20% bonus to the research roll is equal to the GP value of investment by spell level divided by 1000. Thus, a first level spell requires 2 while a sixth level spell requires 64. Not all spells can benefit from human sacrifice.
Places of Power
Some locations are inherently magical, either due to the echoes of past events, or strange connections to other places and times. Some examples are ancient standing stones and sites that exist half in the mortal realm and half in Dream-Land. Performing research for some kinds of spells in certain places is worth a 20% bonus on the research roll.
Self Sacrifice
Some magic-users crave power so much that they are willing to give of themselves. You may spend 1d4 ability score points or one hit die for a 20% bonus to a spell research roll. These reductions are permanent. Spells researched through self-sacrifice are said to be more deeply tied to their creator than other spells.
What are apprentices good for, if they can’t help you with magical research? An arcane entourage will provide a 20% bonus to spell research rolls. One apprentice per spell level is required for this bonus (so six assistants are required to get any benefit during the research of a sixth level spell). The assistants in question must be skilled enough to prepare spells of levels two beneath the level of the spell being researched.
Mind invasion
ESP along with a subdued magic-user that has a given spell prepared is much the same as having access to a spell book with the magic formula. Not for the squeamish or ethical.
Specialized Library
Large collections of specialized books are quite rare and valuable, but may in some cases be worth a 20% research bonus.
Demons know a lot about magic. If you give a demon or spirit something, it might help you out enough to get a 20% research roll bonus.
Image from Wikipedia

Each attempt must include at least one unit of monetary investment (for example, at least 16000 GP must be spent on any attempt to research a fourth level spell). In general, other forms of assistance may be used no more than once per attempt. For example, a magic-user could capture and dissect a salamander during the research for wall of fire, but capturing and dissecting another fire-oriented creature would not grant another 20% bonus for this particular spell.

Abstract magical research may be performed at any point, if the GP is available. This may be applied to any future specific attempt, but abstract magical research functions like carousing and requires a saving throw versus spells to avoid unintended (but often amusing) consequences.

What happens if the roll fails?
The preparation and investment are not totally lost, but some aspect of the magic-user’s understanding or ritual preparation was off. One of the 20% bonuses is wasted. So, if you only invested the minimum needed GP and didn’t use any other form of assistance, you must start over from scratch. The magic-user may try again in one moon with the reduced percentage (if any is left over), or invest further in the procedure. The same preparation may not be used for a different spell.
What about researching a spell in the rules versus making up your own spell?
Mechanically, these two cases are handled the same way. However, it will generally be easier to find non-monetary components to assist with the research of spells from the rules, as scrolls and NPC spell books will contain formula for those spells. Also, I have seeded the campaign world with other features and items that are useful for researching particular spells.
How does this interact with the grimoire system?
If you have a grimoire, and cast read magic to interpret a spell in it (only needed before preparing the spell for the first time), you may prepare the spell as normal. However, the spell is not “yours” and if you lose the grimoire in question, you will not be able to prepare the spell again. Researching a spell (either one from the book, or a new one from your imagination) does not allow you to create a grimoire, which is a special kind of magic item. Creating a true grimoire is the feat of a great archmage. Thus, finding a grimoire is the least expensive way to get access to a new spell that is not consumed after one use (as a scroll is so consumed).
How does this apply to clerics?
Clerics use the same system for magical research, but the list of potential aids is different, and will likely be covered in a future post. Cleric magic is more limited than the sorcery of magic-users; methods of discovering new cleric spells generally include activities like copying holy scripture and staging secret rites.
Image from Wikipedia

There are stories about guilds of magic-users that share spell books, thereby easing the cost of magical research (one only needs time with another magic-user’s spell book to use it as an aid in magical research). No such actual organizations near Pahvelorn are known, however, and magic-users tend to be a jealous, paranoid, secretive lot. Also, legend has it that learning another magic-user’s spells will give you insight into the weaknesses of those spells and potentially even power over their creator, much like knowing a true name.

Cleric XP

Healing of the Demon-Possessed

The cleric part of my recent XP awards post was becoming too complicated, so I decided that it deserved its own space. The process of thinking through what clerics would spend money on was also revealing lots of setting details which seem naturally to belong together. See also the general post on clerics for more background. So here, without further ado, are some ways for clerics to convert their GP to XP, and serve their order in the process.

NAMING. Knowing the true name of a person or creature gives you power over them. Demons and sorcerers are particularly vulnerable to someone that has their true name. Thus, where possible, it is traditional to have a cleric perform a naming ceremony. In the process, the cleric will discover the person’s true name, and record it in the hidden language of law. That cleric, and any of their acolytes, will have access to this true name in the future. They will also sometimes bestow a use-name (some people consider this lucky). Most people willingly entrust their true name (and the true name of their offspring) to the clerics, because they would not want to live as a diabolist (and it is assumed that demonic influence is behind people becoming diabolists). Rich people will be able to pay for the entirety of the ritual, but the poor are dependent upon the cleric’s generosity. The ritual components cost 1d4 * 100 GP and require one day to prepare and execute. The procedures involve preparing special incense, meditation, and copying certain scriptures. When clerics meet, one of the common tasks is to exchange the true names so collected.
CONSECRATION. Some sites have been tainted in a way that can only be purified by the mysteries of the light. In addition, once hauntings have been dealt with, the sites must often be blessed. Cost is 1d6 * 100 GP plus a save versus magic to avoid consequences. Shrines may also be constructed for a similar cost, and do not require a saving throw (though they are really only worthwhile in a town or settlement that does not yet have a shrine). If the shrine houses a relic (the remains of a fallen cleric), special procedures are required (in addition to the return of the relics, if they are missing). Such a shrine has a level and can be used by clerics during level up. The cost of the consecration ritual is 1000 GP * level, in addition to any architectural costs required. The shrine of a great matriarch or patriarch, for example, may be an elaborate affair.
EXORCISM. Much like naming, rich people will be able to pay for an exorcism, but the poor will not. The components for an exorcism cost 1d6 * 100 GP and the ritual will usually take one day, but may take longer depending on the strength of the possession. A save versus spells is required for complete success, and a fumble may have extremely dire consequences (but then, continuing demonic influence may also have dire consequences).

EXEGESIS. The Mysteries of Light are deep, and there is always more to discover, both in the scriptures themselves, and by communing with higher powers. This functions in the same way as magic research, and also requires a save versus spells to avoid unintended consequences, such as the attentions of dark spirits.

JUDGMENT. In addition to being demon hunters, clerics carry the law of the True Empire wherever they go. This is one of the reasons that they often have problematic relationships with secular authorities in these degenerate times. Many clerics seek out the worms nestled in the timber of civilization. Communities generally don’t like to expose the skeletons in their closets on their own, so clerics must bring their own resources to bear on the problem. Spend 1d6 * 100 GP and make a wisdom check (less than or equal to on a d20). If successful, roll on the Pronouncing Judgment table (which I admit does not exist yet, and so will require improvisation). Otherwise, roll on the complications table (also still imaginary). Note that adventure leads, rumors, and other info may be discovered in the process of judgment.
Funeral Procession of Sir Philip Sidney

LAST RITES. The dead are particularly vulnerable to the attentions of necromancers and demons. Some believe that souls are unable to find their way to the afterlife without the final rites. Others believe that eternal peace and extinction of the soul (the alternative being endless purgatorial wandering) require a cleric’s rites. The mysteries are silent regarding the truth (at least, silent to the uninitiated), but few wish for their fate to be unending undeath, forever hungering again for the warmth of life. Cost is 1d6 * 10 GP for a commoner’s funeral in addition to an evening of work (or a full day if a gravedigger is not available). The rich will demand more lavish affairs, and will generally be able to pay for them. Putting the spirit of a great adventurer to rest, however, is a more involved affair and requires 1000 GP per level of the deceased character. However, such expenses are often wise: the wraith of a powerful warrior is a terrible thing to behold.

INITIATION. Most people cannot become clerics on their own (though there are exceptions, people who are able to figure out the beginning of the mysteries on their own, either from the panoply of a fallen cleric, or from visions). Instead, they must be initiated by an existing cleric. Clerics of fourth level or higher may initiate new clerics. This requires the copying of a holy book, and a ritual that consumes many rare components. The total cost is 1000 GP. Because of the great expense and effort that initiation involves, generally the aspiring cleric will serve a period of apprenticeship and training beforehand. The new cleric begins with the title Acolyte.

Note that most of these prices are either guesses or loosely based on the carousing costs. I reserve the right to change them later based on play experiences.

Seal Evil

Joseph William Turner, Interior of a Prison

Sometimes truly destroying a demon is impossible or impractical. In such cases, magical seals are sometimes employed. Clerics may learn the seal evil rite upon reaching fourth level. Learning requires four months study with a holy text describing the rite or one month of study with a cleric can can perform the rite. Creating a seal is closer to creating a magic item than casting a spell. It requires one day of work (regardless of the seal level) and 100 gold pieces per level of seal. A cleric may not create a seal of level higher than their experience level as a cleric. So, for example, a fifth level cleric could create a fourth level seal at the cost of 1 day of work and 400 GP in expenses. The same cleric could not create a seal of strength higher than fifth level.

However, multiple clerics working together may create stronger seals. All clerics so cooperating must have learned the rite (and thus must be at least fourth level). For each cleric in excess of the first, the strength of the seal is raised by one level, to a maximum level of 20. The time to complete the rite is still one day, but costs are commensurate with the final level of the seal (so a 15th level seal created by a 7th level cleric and eight assistant clerics would take one day and 1500 GP in sacrifices and components).

Seals work by preventing magical or chaotic beings from passing through the warded area, usually a door, though a physical barrier is not required. Such beings include elementals, undead, demons, powerful sorcerers, and cauldron-spawned beastlings (but not natural humanoids or animals, even if dangerous). Affected creatures inside the sealed area with hit dice equal to or less than the level of the seal may not in any way cross the barrier. In addition, if the barrier is an entrance into a closed area (such as a room, coffin, or complex), such creatures may also not leave via any other route (for example, tunnelling through dirt around the door is not possible). In addition, all the benefits of a protection from evil spell are present.

Clerics of any level can immediately identify a seal and ascertain its potency. In addition, clerics of fourth level or higher can read any details included (seal inscriptions are written in the hidden language of law). Magic-users will recognize a seal but must make an intelligence check to determine its level. Seals detect as magical, and read magic can be used to uncover details about the evil being warded against (if the seal creator decided to include such information). Anyone else may identify a seal with a successful intelligence check, though no details about its power or reason for being should be provided. A sage can often assess the level of a seal if provided with rubbings or sketches.

Creatures with more hit dice may attempt a saving throw versus spells once per lunar cycle to break the seal. If successful, the seal is destroyed. In addition, unless accompanied by a cleric who knows the seal evil rite, anyone crossing the threshold will break the seal. Thus, creatures trapped within a sealed chamber will often seek to trick or tempt mortals into transgressing the seal.