The most common type of priest is the cleric. The cleric may be an adherent of
any religion (though if the DM designs a specific mythos, the cleric's
abilities and spells may be changed--see following). Clerics are generally good, but
are not restricted to good; they can have any alignment acceptable to their
order. A cleric must have a Wisdom score of 9 or more. High constitution and
Charisma are also particularly useful.
A cleric who has a Wisdom of 16 or more gains a 10% bonus to the experience
points he earns.
The cleric class is similar to certain religious orders of knighthood of the
Middle Ages: the Teutonic Knights, the Knights Templars, and Hospitalers. These
orders combined military and religious training with a code of protection and
service. Memberswere trained as knights and devoted themselves to the service of
the church. These orders were frequently found on the outer edges of the
Christian world, either on the fringe of the wilderness or in war-torn lands.
Archbishop Turpin (of The Song of Roland) is an example of such a cleric. Similar orders can also be found in other
lands, such as the sohei of Japan.
Clerics are sturdy soldiers, although their selection of weapons is limited.
They can wear any type of armor and use any shield. Standard clerics, being
reluctant to shed blood or spread violence, are allowed to use only blunt,
bludgeoning weapons. They can use a fair number of magical items including priest
scrolls, most potions and rings, some wands and rods, staves, armor, shields, and
magical versions of any weapons allowed by their order.
Spells are the main tools of the cleric, however, helping him to serve,
fortify, protect, and revitalize those under his care. He has a wide variety of
spells to choose from, suitable to many different purposes and needs. (A priest of a
specific mythos probably has a more restricted range of spells.) A cleric has
major access to every sphere of influence except the plant, animal, weather,
and elemental spheres (he has minor access to the elemental sphere and cannot
cast spells of the other three spheres).
The cleric receives his spells as insight directly from his deity (the deity
does not need to make a personal appearance to grant the spells the cleric prays
for), as a sign of and reward for his faith, so he must take care not to abuse
his power lest it be taken away as punishment.
The cleric is also granted power over undead -- evil creatures that exist in a
form of non-life, neither dead nor alive. The cleric is charged with defeating
these mockeries of life. His ability to turn undead (see “Turning Undead” in Chapter 9: Combat) enables him to drive away these creatures or destroy
them utterly (though a cleric of evil alignment can bind the creatures to his
will). Some of the more common undead creatures are ghosts, zombies, skeletons,
ghouls, and mummies. Vampires and liches (undead sorcerers) are two of the most
As a cleric advances in level, he gains additional spells, better combat
skills, and a stronger turning ability. Upon reaching 8th level, the cleric
automatically attracts a fanatically loyal group of believers, provided the character
has established a place of worship of significant size. The cleric can build
this place of worship at any time during his career, but he does not attract
believers until he reaches 8th level. These followers are normal warriors, 0-level
soldiers, ready to fight for the cleric's cause. The cleric attracts 20 to 200
of these followers; they arrive over a period of several weeks. After the
initial followers assemble, no new followers trickle in to fill the ranks of those
who have fallen in service. The DM decides the exact number and types of
followers attracted by the cleric. The character can hire other troops as needed, but
these are not as loyal as his followers.
At 9th level, the cleric may receive official approval to establish a
religious stronghold, be it a fortified abbey or a secluded convent. Obviously, the
stronghold must contain all the trappings of a place of worship and must be
dedicated to the service of the cleric's cause. However, the construction cost of the
stronghold is half the normal price, since the work has official sanction and
much of the labor is donated. The cleric can hold property and build a
stronghold any time before reaching 9th level, but this is done without church sanction
and does not receive the benefits described above.
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