Sunday, June 11, 2017

Wildwood Manuscripts: The Priest (WIP)







Another entry into the pompously titled Wildwood Manuscripts is a twist on the Cleric, in this form simply the Priest. Clerics have long been an issue for me in role-playing games because they are crazy crusaders with good armor, good HD, and crazy cosmic powers who don't really have to worry as much about pissing off their deity as much as a paladin does. So I wanted to change that, because I've known people who wanted to play wandering illuminators and pilgrims, and this is more of that. This is the class I will be using for holymen in my Dolmenwood Campaign. In my games all entities are Unaligned unless they actively pursue an Alignment; which grants one powers because they are now an active influence in a cosmic struggle.

Priests are not Good, but they are agents against Evil. They are not Lawful, but they do adhere to a code specific to their interpretation of the One True God and His texts. They can cast spells, learned from their monastic upbringing and reading illuminated liturgical texts; but their real feature is that they can cast Blessings; which can be used in a variety of ways listed below.

Priests must adhere to a specific form of denial in order to preserve their union with the One True God, and should they break it their atonement method is very clearly spelled out. Priests also benefit from having access to the easiest of patrons; the Church, when it comes to exchanging Treasure for XP.

It isn't finished, as far as the spell-list is concerned, but I'm working on it. I'm doing the Wonders & Wickedness method for it to represent different schools of esoterica. My spell-casting rules are that you can cast however many spells you want, but if you fail a roll things start to go sideways real fast. For the Priest can fail a number of spellcasting rolls per day equal to your level; at which point you can push it and if you fail again you can't cast spells til the next sabbath. Magic-Users proper use the "calamities happen when you fail" thing, Priests are a bit safer; they just run the risk of being unable to cast spells for a few days if they push it too hard. Wizards can go crazy with shit, Priests cannot.

Priests are priests of a Judeo-Christian Deity. Druids are for Pagans. Witches are for those who make pacts with otherworldly entities that are not divine. Just how I'm rolling with this.

I plan on scrubbing any broader references to other settings when I'm done with this project, so I can collect it all up in a nice little book for my players to have for our own purposes.

The Priest.
The Priest [Fluff]
These individuals are mere lay-priests, mendicant friars, and wandering pilgrims who through faith in the power of the One True God, wield the favor of the Divine and act as His agents within the mortal world. They perform holy sacraments and grant blessings to those who would act in the service of the Almighty, and their time spent in theological education has granted them arcane knowledge to the formulae of spells that run ragged between the material world and that which lingers beyond. So long as they remain loyal and devout in their ways, they may call upon a higher power to aid them. But such devotion and loyalty is always open to interpretation, and ones goodly priest is another’s fire and brimstone preacher-man or zealous inquisitor.

Priests are themselves not unformidable in combat, though only those of certain theological interpretations would view it as something to actively pursue when proselytization and diplomacy are possible. Each may call upon the One True God for blessings a number of times per day, and their blessings may be invoked in a myriad of utilitarian ways. Spells known by priests are denoted by a set of theological philosophy that the priest subscribes to, and such spells are generally learned from an upbringing spent reading illuminated tomes or by making pilgrimages to various shrines and forgotten priories that subscribe to those same interpretations of the One True God and his text.

Priests must subscribe to a specific form of denial in order to preserve their union of devotion to the One True God, and those who fall from such a path must make atonement by visiting a number of holy sites equivalent to the gravity of their sin, donate all material coinage to the causes of the Faithful, and rely solely upon the bonds of friendship and charity given to them by those who are not members of the clergy.

Why would a priest adventure? To spread the word, to serve the church, to save the faithful and scourge the wicked; to better understand the glory of the One True God, to collect herbs for literary archiving, to discover old abandoned places of the faith, to convert the Pagans and the Fey, and to do what they perceive as "right" in the world. When venturing through the wildwood, a priest is a boon companion who will be welcome among the faithful and who can provide many blessings provided you keep the Almighty in your heart of hearts.

The Priest [Mechanics]
Ritual Denial: Priests must subscribe to a single specific form of denial each time they gain a level, in order to prove to the One True God their willingness to go without base comforters that make life easier, as a way of proving their desire to form a union under His Grace. Such denials may include:
  • Abstaining from all alcohols save for on feasting days for Saints that did not practice temperance.
  • Abstaining from the consumption of all meats save for on feasting days for Saints who are patron to huntsmen and farmers.
  • Abstaining from all pleasures of the flesh including coitus and self-gratification, save for consummation of a wedded union for the purposes of producing children.
  • Abstain from the collection of great wealth (100gp multiplied by one's level), unless such wealth is to be donated to the Church.
  • Abstain from using piercing weapons against foes, so as not to bloody oneself while wielding phallic and uncleanly imagery.
  • Abstain from using blunt weaponry against foes, so as to not gain a reputation that the One True God is incapable of dealing in subtleties.
  • Abstain from accepting charity from pagans and fey creatures, unless you have actively and truthfully attempted to convert them to the One True God.
  • Abstain from the use of any psychedelic or intoxicating substances, so as not to dilute ones assurity of purpose in viewing the works of the One True God.
  • Abstain from the company of the wealthy, unless they are to donate significant wealth to the causes of the Church (100gp multiplied by one's level.)
  • Abstain from counsel and conversation with entities from the Other World, so as not to be led astray by those who have never known the Grace of the One True God; unless your goal is to convert them.
  • Abstain from comforts, never wearing or wielding any items or equipment that was not donated to the priest by the Church or recovered from the hands of the iniquitous and the vile.
  • Abstain from wearing any metal armor or leathers, as one's faith in the One True God should be armor enough and to wear the unclean flesh of lesser creatures is an insult to His Protections.
While a priest need only accept a single denial at first level, it is recommended they attempt to live as well as they can by all denials so they may someday obtain the vaunted ranks of the upper clergy or to be potentially canonized for sainthood. Such things require the undertaking of all denials, becoming an individual who wholly rejects the sinful world of the demiurge.

Should a priest break their union with the Divine by succumbing to such temptations, they must make a pilgrimage to a number of holy sites equivalent to their level, donate all material wealth to the first holy site they encounter, and rely only on the charity of friends and strangers to feed themselves, clothe themselves, and shelter them until such a time they complete their pilgrimage.

Blessings: The Priest may make a number of blessings per day equivalent to their level. These blessings require the Priest to be able to use his hands to gesture the sign of the One True God and to be able to recite a short verse of devotion out loud (though under his breath if need be). A symbol might also be utilized and brandished if the Priest lacks the ability to gesture or speak, and this symbol must be of the One True God or His Host of Angels, or His Saints who have enforced his laws in ages past and earned a place of respect.

A Priest may not bless himself, though they may potentially bless items to then wield or utilize for himself..

Blessings may be used in the following ways.
  • To hold the undead or fiends in their tracks, forcing them to make a morale check to be able to attack or pursue the blessed. This Blessing blocks creatures of an HD equivalent to the Priest’s level, and causes those of a greater strength to suffer cosmetic burns. This blessing lasts a number of days equal to the Priest’s level and may bless a number of items or buildings of that same amount. Enemies who pass their morale check and attack or approach the blessed take a number of d4 in damage equal to the Priests level.
  • To bless a number of weapons, containers of water, or sets of armor equal to the Priest’s level to be augmented against  fiends or the undead. Such blessed items may be used to strike at incorporeal creatures (or in the case of armor, to block incorporeal attacks), and they increase all damages against Fiends or Undead with blessed weapons and waters by the Priest's Level. This blessing lasts a number of hours equal to the Priest’s level.
  • To heal the wounded with a number of d4 in Hit Points equivalent to the Priest’s level, or to purge poisons or drugs from one’s system. This blessing may only be used upon those who hold aloft the One True God, or those who are of genuinely good moral value, and it may only be used on a single individual once per day.
  • To instill upon someone a sense of virtue and bravery, granting them a number of temporary Hit Points equal to the Priest’s level and making them immune to Fear (though still allowing to realize they would normally be afraid) for a number of hours equal to the Priest’s level.
  • To detect the intent of an individual in broad terms, allowing the Priest to see what it is that drives their ambitions and if they mean intentional ill-will towards the Faithful. It cannot be used to specifically detect if someone is evil, lying, or good; merely what it is that drives their ambition and what emotion is driving their current intentions.
  • To reduce the amount an individual needs to rest to recover from fatigue or exhaustion down to 1d6 hours, at which point they awaken feeling perfectly fine.
  • To reduce the amount an individual needs to eat or drink to the point that a pitiful and inferior quality meal will sustain them without making them thin or sickly in appearance. Such individuals still feel hunger and thirst if they do not eat to their fill, but they suffer no penalty for it save discomfort. The effects of this blessing lasts a number of days equal to the Priest’s level.
  • To grant an individual or one who holds blessed item a bonus equal to the Priest’s level when making Saving Throws against Ensorcellment, Geas or Enchantment. The blessing fades after a number of days equal to the Priest’s level or after an individual rolls a saving throw against any of those effects.
  • To take upon wounds, sickness, disease, or poison from another and allow for the Priest to suffer the ill effects. The Priest chooses may not take upon cursed effects, though he may use this to lessen the effects of such a curse on an individual for a number of hours equal to the Priest’s level.

Blessed items and blessings cast upon fey creatures require them to make a save vs Geas to gain the benefit of, as they were not created in the image of the Divine. A fey creature such as an elf or gnome who pledges himself to the One True God (by taking up a Ritual Denial much like a priest) may then benefit from blessings without needing to save against a Geas. Fey creatures who fail this save against a Geas not only fail to gain any benefit of the blessing, but are haunted by nightmares of a paradise they shall never attain for 1d4 nights.

Blessed items when used for willful destruction by fiends or those whose Alignment is Evil, may not harm the faithful with such items. Blessed blades wielded by the wicked only strike their target on a roll of 20, at which point the Evil wielder takes damage equal to 1d4+Level of the Priest.

Lorewise: Priests are educated well in the texts and studies of the One True God and the interests of His servants. Priests may identify plants and mushrooms at a rate of 3-in-6, are literate in the liturgic tongue of the faithful, and may identify the gravity and cause of wounds or ailments at a rate of 2-in-6.

Theological Esoterica: Priests are all learned and subscribe to a set of philosophies about the One True God which allow them to cast magical spells. These fields, which are described below, are broadly known as the fields of: Monadic Emanations, Sophic Archonism, Pneumatic Transference, Concordant Logos, Sarkic Denialism, and Kenomanic Transmission. Though these distinctions are only recognized by those knowledgeable in church philosophy, with individual laymen and even most abbeys believing whatever local field they preach is the truest interpretation of the One True God.

Priests may learn spells from other schools of Theological Esoterica by reading sacred tomes, studying under those of a different philosophy (and overcoming the hurdles of accepting a different interpretation of one's Faith) or through communion with servants of the Divine who might bless the Priest with such knowledge.

The Priest begins with two spells from their school, which may be determined randomly by rolling a d10 or chosen by the player should they so desire to.

Spellcasting: The Priest knows a number of spells at level 1 equivalent to 2+WIS Modifier, within their school of Theological Esoterica. The Priest may fail fail a number of spellcasting rolls per day equivalent to their level, failing more removes their ability to cast spells until the next day of worship. On the next day of worship they must engage in deep prayer, meditation, or theological debate with other clergy in order to reclaim their ability to cast spells.

These spells may still be cast even if the Priest breaks his union with the One True God by way of breaking their ritual denials; the ability to cast these spells altogether is only removed if the Priest fully and willfully binds himself into the service of fiends or those who seek to usurp the Throne of Heaven.

Priests may not create spells, as a magic-user or fey entities might. To do so skirts heresy or reformation, which the wider Church is not keen on doing so. Priests may learn spells from magic-users or fey entities, but using such spells requires a Save vs Ensorcellment each time a spell is cast to avoid invoking God’s Wrath at spurning the gifts He gave you in his service in favor of personal power.

Preaching is tiring work.

The Priest


Level
Experience Points
Hit Points
Spells Known
Blessings per day
1
0
1d6
2
1
2
1,500
+1d6
+1
2
3
3,000
+1d6
+1
3
4
6,000
+1d6
+1
4
5
12,000
+1d6
+1
5
6
24,000
+1d6
+1
6
7
48,000
+1d6
+1
7
8
96,000
+1d6
+1
8
9
192,000
+1d6
+1
9
10+
+96,000/level
+2*
+1**
+1
*Constitution modifiers no longer apply.
**Wisdom modifiers no longer applies.

Priest Saving Throws
Level
Saving Throws

Enchantment
Substance
Geas
Dragon Spume
Ensorcellment
1-2
11+
15+
10+
16+
13+
3-4
10+
14+
9+
15+
12+
5-6
9+
13+
8+
14+
11+
7-8
8+
12+
7+
13+
10+
9-10+
7+
11+
6+
12+
9+

Theological Esoterica
d6
Schools of Philosophy
1
Monadic Emanation
2
Sophic Archonism
3
Sarkic Denialism
4
Pneumatic Transference
5
Concordant Logos
6
Kenomanic Transmission

Monadic Emanations
Divine magic that comes from examination of the material world and symbolic powers of the Almighty which permeates both this world and the next. The theory behind Monadic Emanationism is that the union between Man and the Divine is a balance of commensalism wherein devotion to the Almighty allows His servants to make use of His gifts. Alchemists and hermetics follow this path more than others, and they make use of the mantra: “As Above, So Below” to simply put their relationship to the influences which sit in the Heaven beyond the firmament.

  1. Psalm of the Tempestuous and the Calm
    The caster falls into a meditative trance, muttering lowly in tongues echoed by the low thrum of a distant choir on the wind. All creatures who are not of an Evil alignment must make a Save vs Enchantment or immediately switch to the opposite emotion they are currently feeling. The berserk become tranquil, the enraged become cheerful, the joyous fall to tears; et cetera. Evil aligned creatures must instead make a Save vs Geas, on a failure they must either retreat or take 1d4 damage per level of the spell-caster.
  2. Bougonian Generation
    The caster must place their hands upon an open wound, and utter liturgic verses in a low voice. The target of the spell must make a Save vs Ensorcellment, which they may choose to fail. Those who fail such a save take 1d4 damage and roll a 1d4 to determine the  following effect:
    1. An Insect Swarm of Bees emerges from the wound and fly off into the wild, leaving the wound they’ve exited from slathered in a rich honey. If the honey is left alone (or consumed by another individual) all wounds will heal over night (replenishing Hit Points equal to 1d8 per level of the caster), and there will be no scarring.
    2. The wound will stitch itself back together as though one's flesh were linens being woven, making the target’s flesh exceptionally taut and dense. This will keep out potential infections, but does not heal the wound itself. Until the next day, the target resist the first point of damage they take from any slashing or piercing weapon.
    3. The blood of the target begins to boil, driving them into a manic haste. The target adds the Priest’s level to their Initiative score and any attacks that would result in the target bleeding or spilling their own blood on an enemy scald the enemy for 1d4-1 points of damage. The effects of this last 1d4 hours, it is rather painful, and after which the target is Fatigued.
    4. The target vomits forth an Insect Swarm of Bees from their open wound, and the swarm follows the orders of the target for a number of rounds equal to the Priest’s level, at which point they disperse to find flowers, pollen, and a place for a new hive.
  3. Emanation of the Nightly Soul
The caster must pour forth a vessel of blessed water, oils (blessed or otherwise), or heated wine while beseeching the One True God reveal the hidden soul of those in the presence of the caster. The liquid will billow up in a great cloud of fog and mist, obscuring a room up to 20 feet by 20 feet. Those within the area must make a Save vs Geas or have their inner-most desires made manifest upon their person in symbolic ways. Those who desire violence, for good or for ill, will appear slathered in blood; those who desire wealth will appear as though mutilated by melted golds; those who seek to bind others to their service will find themselves held in chains.

Creatures of a Good alignment need not show their sins, and creatures of an Evil alignment will find their own sins made manifest so long as they remain within the mist; taking 1d4+Caster’s level in damage for each round they remain in the mist until they either pass out from the pain (if mortal) or are destroyed by holy flames (if fiend, undead, or Evil Fey). The mist lasts for a number of rounds equal to the caster’s level. Any attacks made within the mist against the caster are at a penalty of -2 to Hit. Sins are open to interpretation, and ones sinful desires need not mean they are of a wicked soul. All creatures are flawed, and fey creatures do not reveal their desires but rather their own natural true form when within the mists (unless they are of Evil alignment, in which case they show their sinful desires and their true self.)

  1. Conjure Forth Alkahest
The caster may by mixing a concoction of herbs, oils, and blessed water created the universal solvent known as “alkahest.” It requires an hour of time and 1d6 silver in ingredients to create a pint of alkahest. Alkahest may act in a number of ways depending on how the caster uses it.

If the alkahest is thrown, it acts as an acid which burns at a rate of 1d8 damage per round, Save vs Substance each round until the substance is fully off the target. It burns a whispering ocean blue in color and its burn marks are jagged and vaguely crystallized in the scars.

If the alkahest is imbibed slowly or mixed with normal water, it becomes an antitoxin that grants the imbiber Advantage on all Save vs Substance against poisons, toxins, or consumed drugs for the next day. If consumed immediately after being poisoned, the alkahest will neutralize the poison but force the imbiber to be Fatigued and sluggish for 1d6 days.

If the alkahest is poured or drizzled, it becomes a sticky glue-like substance which dissolves when exposed to a hand-full of salt. The alkahest can hold together two pieces of stone as though they were always one single, sturdy piece. Those who step in the adhesive or get it upon themselves must make a Strength Save to break free.

If something is submerged into alkahest it loses all sensation of touch within the physical world, but it may grasp at and interact with items from the spirit world. As such a hand submerged in alkahest can grasp at a ghost, and a sword submerged in it could cut at them.

Alkahest remains viable and potent for 1d4 hours after creation unless placed in a sealed container. Once exposed to air, after its allotment of time, the substance becomes a chunky butter-like goop which easily catches fire.
  1. Disruption of the Unquiet Dead
By pressing a blessed item against an undead creature, the caster then may attempt to sever the connection between what animates the creature and its manifested form. The individual who is pressing the blessed item against the undead need not be the caster, and the wielder of the blessed item takes a number of d4 in damage equal to the HD of the targeted creature (Save vs Ensorcellement to reduce damage by half). Should the individual pressing the blessed item against the undead survive the pain, the unquiet dead falls limp and its flame imperishable fades away like a small candle being snuffed out with a breath. This spell does not prevent creatures such as vampires, ghouls, wights, or other intelligent undead from reforming; but it does disable their body for a number of hours equal to the caster’s level.
  1. Chastisement of the Hubristic
    By accusing an individual of misusing and abusing the gifts granted to them by the One True God, the caster may shame them into seeing their boons wither away. The target of this spell must make a Save vs Geas, or lose 1d4 points of their highest Attribute per day until they attempt to make amends for their cruelties or prostrate themselves before the Church. This spell only affects humans in such a way, on demi-humans, fey, or other mortals not crafted in the image of the One True God they instead suffer a stacking penalty of -1 per day on any attempts to harm those adherent to the Faith until they eventually cannot act against the Faith.

    The victims of this spell regain their faculties at a rate of 1 point per day spent in reflection and penance of their actions, ceasing for 1d4 days if thoughts of vengeance enter the mind of the victim, before resuming again.


Yes, this is unfinished, but writing 60 spells in the Wonders & Wickedness model is a bit rough given how goddamn hot it is in Brooklyn here. I'll pick this up later, because I kind of just want to flop down into a bath tub full of ice.



That being said, here's a Religious Order Generator, for the name of the specific denomination the priest belongs to. So when someone asks the Priest where they were taught/who taught them they can say they were learned by...
Religious Order Name Generator
d10
Title Part 1...
...Title Part 2...
...Title Part 3.
1
The Brothers/ Sisters
...of the Illuminated...
...Chalice of Charisms.
2
The Communion
...of the Most High’s...
...Angelic Hosts of Heaven.
3
The Parish
...of the Aegis and the...
...Sword of The One True God.
4
The Priory
...of the Book of the...
...Saint and Sacrament
5
The Ordo
...of the Lion Regal and...
...Chosen Faithful.
6
The Abbey
...the Cherub’s Joy and...
...Chosen Pure.
7
The Church
...the Most Holy,,,
...Imperishable Flame.
8
The Reclamation
...of the Valorous  and Sacred...
...Unconquerable Sun.
9
The Chantry
...of the Blessed...
...Radiant Cruciform.
10
The Pilgrimage
...Adherents in Service to the...
...Shepherd and the Lowly Lamb.

[Edited: Fixed a Denial/Blessing issue, for clarity's sake.]

State of the Goblet - October 2017

Just a small update, as things are actually happening. I'm working on a Horror game which I hope to have finished tonight and properly l...