I know this very smart guy, named Frotz, who loves clerics. They’re one of his favorite classes. I’ve enjoyed many long conversations with him about games, which have always been eye opening for me. Most relevantly, several of our conversations were about the pros and cons of the Cleric class. Two bits from those conversations got stuck in my brain, and have been percolating there for months.
“LotFP has one of the best versions of the Cleric class, because it’s explicitly positioned as the anti-magic user. Most notably with the way Dispel Magic works.”
“The Cleric is to the Magic User, as the Fighter is to the Specialist.”
With those thoughts in mind, I’ve put together a new version of the cleric that I’m honestly excited by. Something simple, but powerful, with a clear niche. Much better than my beloved, but admittedly overdesigned, Glory From God system.
There is a divine music to the universe. Before the fall of man, when we lived each day in the light of our creator, we heard this music always. But when we were cast out from the sacred garden, we lost the ability to hear. The music is still there, ringing out from every sphere in the heavens, but it is beyond us now.
Clerics are those who have–through diligent study of God’s word, and meditation on the divine–trained themselves to hear the faintest echos of that music. Hearing it changes a person. They experience reality the way God always intended his beloved children to experience it. All they want now is to hear more, and to hear better. Sin disrupts the music, and becomes hateful to the cleric. And there is no sin greater than the casting of magic.
Clerics have a d8 hit die. They advance and make saving throws as the default cleric class does. Clerics cannot cast any spells. If alignment is used in your game, clerics must be Lawful.
Beginning at first level, clerics have the following abilities:
Turn: The cleric confronts their foes with a brief glimpse of God’s might. When this ability is activated, the cleric identifies a single target, then rolls 2d6. The results are compared to the matrix below (borrowed from page 147 of the LotFP Rules & Magic book). (Note that while the table says “Undead,” this ability works against anyone the cleric deems to be their enemy).
If the cleric’s roll is equal to, or greater than the result required for their target’s hit dice, that foe has been cowed. They will flee from the cleric if there is an easy escape, or cower meekly if there is not. This effect will persist as long as the cleric takes no action aside from looking imposing, or turning other foes. The effect will also end if the target is attacked.
The cleric may turn as many times as they wish, so long as they are successful. If a turn attempt fails, the cleric cannot attempt to turn anything again for the rest of the day.
On the table, a result of “-” means turning is impossible. A result of “T” means turning is automatic. A result of “T*” means that any of the target’s allies with the same or fewer hit dice are also turned. A result of “D” means the target is destroyed by the unbearable glory of god, and that their allies with similar hit dice are automatically turned. A Result of “D*” means that the target, and their allies, are destroyed.
Dispel Magic: If the cleric wishes to snuff out any magical spell or effect, they need only reach out their hand, and will for chaos to be bent back into order.
When such an attempt is made, roll a d6. On a 1, the attempt fails. Otherwise, the attempt succeeds, and the magic is undone. If permanent magic is targeted, such as the enchantments on a magic weapon, the effect lasts until the object or location is next touched by moonlight. (Or, if you prefer, until the next day).
If a spell is cast in the Cleric’s presence, they may attempt to dispel it immediately, before it has any effect. Doing so consumes their next turn.
Each time a Dispel Magic attempt fails should be tallied. Once the cleric’s tallies for the day equal their level, they may not attempt to dispel anything further that day.
For every 2 hit dice a Magic User has above a Cleric, that Cleric’s dispel attempts are penalized by 1. So a first level Cleric would suffer no penalty against a Magic User of first or second level, but would suffer a penalty of -1 against an MU of the third or fourth level. Similarly a penalty of -2 against an MU of levels five or six, and so on.
Magics which are part of a creature’s innate abilities are more difficult to dispell, and will also fail on a 2. Other circumstances may prompt the referee to assign similar penalties to particularly potent magics. This should be done sparingly.
Identify: Thoroughly shutting down magic the way Clerics do requires them to have a profound understanding of it. Clerics can determine whether or not a thing is magical, what the effects of that magic are, and even obscure details like how long ago the magic was cast, and whether the caster was right or left handed.
This is not something a Cleric can do passively. They can’t walk into a room, and immediately point out all the magic items within. However, if they handle an object, look at it closely, smell it, taste it, and listen to it, they will gain an understanding of any magics attached to it. Doing so takes a 10 minute turn.
Spell Resistance: Clerics have a chance-in-twenty to resist magic, equal to their level. 1-in-20 at first level, 2-in-20 at second level, etc. Any time the Cleric would be the target of magic, before any saving throws or spell effects are rolled, roll a d20. If the result is equal to, or lower than the Cleric’s level, the spell passes harmlessly over them.
This does not mean the Cleric has any immunity to a fireball if it goes off near them. But, if they are the target of a fireball, their resistance may prevent it from going off in the first place. It is left to the referee to adjudicate what exactly it means to be a spell’s ‘target.’
This ability reaches its maximum at an 18-in-20 chance.