Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Rules Tweaks Pt. 2: Clerical Magic

This time around I am musing on clerical magic. As it stands now in the core rules, clerics have Bless, Cure Wounds, and Smite Undead. 

Smite Undead is extremely effective against undead, making the cleric a specialist in that way. Bless only affects one target at a time. Cure Wounds is an essential part of the system as it allows a Skill Roll to use during combat, but is essentially a free ability during the time between encounters. This "free healing" keeps the game going and eliminates the old, "we fight once and rest for 8 hours" syndrome that plagued our earlier gaming days with all incarnations of D&D through 3.X.

My initial design philosophy for the cleric class was to limit the abilities and make the magic-user the spell machine while the cleric would play a support role. My concern now is, though, that the cleric may not have enough abilities to make that support role worth it. Yes, when undead are the opponent, the cleric is the best bet. Smite Undead is devastating. However, I think that their role is vastly reduced against living opponents. Their Defense is high, and their Fighting is average, which helps, but is it enough?

I am not quite ready to grant clerics "spells." I want them to feel distinctly different than magic-users. The solution I am going to try is to provide two more special abilities at later levels:

Ward: At 3rd level, a cleric gains the ability to grant immunity to a specific type of damage for 3 rounds. The cleric must make a Skill Roll and touch the recipient.  Types include but are not limited to the following energies: fire, cold, electricity, force, kinetic, negative, positive; and the following substances acid, poison.The recipient may be protected by more than one Ward at a time but each Ward must provide protection from a different type of damage. Granting Ward, counts as an action. 

To grant a cleric some type of ability to bring the wrath of his or her deity down upon his or her enemies, I am going to try adding the following ability:

Smite EnemyAt 5th level, a cleric gains the ability to call down the power of her god to damage enemies. As an action and upon making a successful Skill Roll, the cleric calls down divine energy to smite enemies in a 10' radius up to 30' away. Each enemy in the radius is allowed a Resistance Roll to avoid 3 points of damage. 

Hopefully, I will have a chance to playtest these additions soon.

Until next time, grab a fistful of dice and slay some evil!

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