Monday, November 4, 2013

Clerics in Eradu

The Few, The Proud, The Holy Men

As mentioned in the previous post, there are only four HackMaster cleric classes allowed for player characters.  It isn't that I necessarily dislike the other classes, or that I will deny NPCs the ability to be clerics of those gods, but I just don't like the feel of so many classes.  The party will meet plenty of clerics that follow other gods, demons, patchwork lords, elder gods, and what-have-you, but I don't want ot putter around with the all those rules.  So, to keep things a bit more focused, clerics are Lightbringers, Truthseekers, Merciful Fates, or Messengers of Liberty.

A Cleric in Society

A cleric's position in society changes dramatically with each society that he enters.  In some villages he may be venerated as an aspect of the divine, while in others he may be spat upon as a heretic.  It all comes down to what kind of religion exists where the party is currently hanging their hat, how the people react to a priest of another faith, and how aggressive the cleric is in their views.  To play it safe, keeping things quiet (not necessarily hiding one's clerical nature) and being low key is going to allow for a smoother introduction.

Religion is often very important in Eradu, but the religions and gods (and demons for that matter) are often so localized that assumptions about right, wrong, and reasonable priestly behavior are going to be incorrect, possibly offensive, and potentially deadly.  Players are advised to take that step back and figure things out ebfore offering to heal anyone who walks by.

For example, the gods of Vinthalp are a bit cruel.  They ensure that the streams flow, the crops grow, and that children are born.  But injury is taken as a sign that the flesh is weak and the spirit must be so as well.  A cleric of Vin will heal you, but only after you've shaved your body hair, accepted the ritual tattoos, and bind yourself to a year of penance to cleanse the soul.  If these terms are not acceptable, then a blood letting (which is used to water the fields - life brings life) for 2d6p damage must be performed THEN all of the damage healed.  Those who do not survive are bound to spirits of terror, the corpses tried to stakes in the field, and their lot in unlife is to guard the corn from crows.

Temples and Shrines of the Celestial Council
Unless in dark territory, finding at least a small shrine to the Celestial Council is fairly common.  Shrines are small and will often be dedicated to a number of gods, so divine privacy isn't really an option.  A cleric in need of some guidance will just have to take what they can get.  This becomes most important when a cleric is looking for formal training or wants to have someone drop a really powerful spell for them.

Getting Started
Characters playing a cleric likely had some sort of training from other clerics, before being sent into the world (or leaving in an ecclesiastical huff).  Roll 2d6 for some background (1 BP to re-roll as usual) for The Call, once for The Way. Then roll 3d6 taking the two that add up the closest to 7, modify, and check results.

2d6 The Call The WayResults
2It was join the clergy or go hang for a crime (-3 R)So far you barely follow the tenets of the faith (-3 R)as #3, You need serious atonement, no spells until you complete your first quest
3They offered you a second chance that you didn't want  (-2 R)  Belief is relative (-2 R)as #4, special abilities as 1d3 levels lower
4Your parents forced you into the life (-2 R)Deep down you believe, but not so much up top (-1 R)as #5, gain no bonus prayers for high wisdom
5At least they feed you (-1 R)You do what you need to to get byas #6, cast 1 level lower until atonement
6Potential to improve social standingYou are pretty sure the gods existPrayers +1s longer to cast
7You think the vestments look snappyTheological debate is fun and you might as well pick a side Devout or not, you made it through
8You've always been a worshiper, this made senseHelping the downtrodden feels good and is rightGain an extra 1/2 level prayer
9You felt honor-bound (+1 R)You enjoy giving sermonsAs #8,+1 to turn abilities
10A vision most clear (+1 R)Through constant prayer... (+1 R)As #9, 2d6p BP for appropriate skills
11Through action you were recognized (+2 R)It all comes so naturally to you (+2 R)As #10, duplicate prayer memorization
12An avatar of the gods spoke to you  (+3 R)In all things the way of the church are made pure by your actions (+3 R)As #11, gain an extra 1/2/3/4 level prayer

The Inquisition

Within the High Seats of the Celestial Council it is rumored that wickedness and a vile demonic cult have infiltrated the clergy to spread lies and discontent.  When a cleric wishes to advance, they must present themselves to the Inquisition for review.  It is a brutal affair, discussing all actions taken, their impact on the church, their impact on the soul of the cleric, and the impact on Eradu itself.  Failure to pass the inquisition results in being expelled from the church.  In extreme circumstances rumors have it that the inquisition has tortured and killed those found to have committed heresy, but what proof exists?  Follow the tenets of the faith, my children!