That said, I want to lay a Christian foundation that permeates the setting, noting important distinctions through mechanics, all without offending religious convictions held by my readers. I think the best approach is to start with basics and fill in details as they're revealed to me. I agree to do my best if y'all agree to be patient with me.
Christian ClericMechanically, we'll start with the Cleric class as outlined in the S&W Core:
Prime Attribute: Wisdom (+5% XP for WIS 13+)Christian Clerics have the following basic abilities, starting at 1st-level:
Hit Die: 1d6 per level (+1hp/lvl after 9th)
Weapons: Mace, hammer, flail, club
Base XP: 1,500
Convert: Clerics may appeal to sentient beings with a religious proclamation relevant to the current situation and delivered by the player. This forces a reaction roll, modified by the difference between the Cleric’s level and the subject’s Hit Die (e.g., a 4th-level Cleric converting a 1HD orc gains +3). If the subject can understand the Cleric, it responds as indicated by the reaction result for the duration of the encounter (conversion is permanent if the reaction roll is 12 or more).
Saving Throw Bonus: Clerics gain a +2 bonus on saving throws vs. Paralysis or Poison.
Divine Spells: Clerics receive miraculous powers from a devout acceptance of Christian Trinity (God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost). Full faith in God and service to His law are all that the Cleric requires to cast divine spells.
Orthodox vs. Heretical ChristianityOrthodox Clerics gain full access to the Clerical spell list. This is due to their understanding of the Trinity and the attendant belief that salvation is possible only when each member of the Godhead is witnessed in equal measure. FrDave provides a wonderful explanation of this arrangement when he relates how Athanasius likens the Trinity to a flowing fountain: the Father is the fountain, the Son is the water that flows from it, and the Holy Spirit is the draught that quenches our thirst for grace. No part of this triumvirate can function out of balance, and therefore salvation cannot be attained when one part is given more significance than the others.
Thus, full participation in the Trinity occurs only when each facet is afforded equal emphasis. If this approach provides complete access to the Clerical spell list, then it follows that unequal emphasis provides limited access. At a high level, this logic could be applied to any of the many Christian heresies (i.e., any non-orthodox view in which salvation is possible through unbalanced participation in the Trinity).
Arianism is one such heresy, and it holds that Christ the Son was created by God the Father. In other words, God the man is separate from God the creator. This stresses the Son's role in salvation over that of the Father's. Athanasius would disagree that salvation could be attained through Christ alone: the fountain does not create the water, though it does make it accessible; we must go to the fountain before we can drink.
Yet Arians are Christians, and they do participate in the Trinity, though not with balance. In game terms, I'm allowing Arian Clerics to cast spells, but with the following limitations:
- Maximum spell level is third, and
- Spells are cast as rituals, which I'm saying requires either 1 turn/spell level spent in preparation or casting on consecrated ground.
Final WordsOne question that does come up: given the spell-casting limitations, why would anyone play an Arian Cleric?
Maybe because the character comes from an Arian Christian country. Or maybe because Orthodox Clerics are saddled with some restriction that I haven't figured out yet.
Not sure if this is the right direction, and before I go further, I'd love for the comments to be filled with your thoughts as to why this is brilliant or blasphemous.
Next Up, Christian Clerics (part 2)
Listening To: Donald Fagen, Morph the Cat
- This replaces the traditional Banish Undead ability, which I'm reflecting as the spell Control Undead.