Friday, September 25, 2009

Clerical Spell Acquisiton Mechanic

from the AD&D 1st edition DMG: "the character is dedicated to this deity and is able to perform as a cleric thereof. It is this background which enables the cleric character to use first level spells. ...continued service and activity on behalf of the player character's deity empower him or her to use second level spells as well, but thereafter another agency must be called upon. Cleric spells of third, fourth, and fifth level are obtained through the aid of supernatural servants of the cleric's deity... Cleric spells of sixth and seventh level are granted by direct communication from the deity itself."

Carefully read this is a major limiting factor on cleric power. I've never seen this played out in the game or related games, possibly because there were no related mechanics.

Here now is a possible set of mechanics:

Clerics are able to gain spells of 1st and 2nd level without consulting the following table so long as they maintain their faith.

Acquiring spells from Intermediaries
Score........Result
3 or less.......Atonement Required
4-5...............Stern Refusal
6-9...............Spell Refused
10-14...........Granted Reluctantly
15 or more...Spell Freely Granted

roll 3d6 apply the following modifiers.
-1 per regular service missed
+2 for praying at temple of faith
+2 for praying at altar dedicated to Intermediary.
+2 for incorporating relic linked to Intermediary.
-1 if Cleric CHA 6 or less
+1 if Cleric CHA 13-15
+2 if Cleric CHA is 6-17
+3 if Cleric CHA is 18+
+2 to all requests if lesser sacrifice has been made today.
+4 to all requests if greater sacrifice has been made today.

results explained-
Atonement Required- spell denied not further spells may be requested from entity until cleric atones by spending 2-8 days in prayer, fasting, and contemplation. May try to gain spells again after atonement but even so will still suffer a -2 modifier to roll. Other Intermediaries may not be contacted to gain ANY spells of that level or greater until atonement is complete.

Stern Refusal- spell denied and all further requests for spells will be made with a -4 modifier. Spell may not be asked for by that Intermediary for 2-5 days. Other Intermediaries may be contacted to gain the a sternly refused spell but a request for that spell will require a -3 modifier.

Spell Refused- spell denied. Cleric may ask again in a day. Other Intermediaries contacted on the same day may grant the spell but the appeal is at -2.

Granted Reluctantly- Intermediary reluctantly grants spell. All other requests from Intermediary for the day are made at -1.

Spell Freely Granted- cleric is granted use of the spell.


Acquiring spells from Deity
Score........Result
4 or less.......Atonement Required
5-7...............Stern Refusal
8-12...............Spell Refused
13 or more...Spell Freely Granted

roll 3d6 apply the following modifiers.
-1 per regular service missed
+2 for praying at temple of faith
+2 for incorporating relic linked to Deity.
-1 if Cleric CHA 6 or less
+1 if Cleric CHA 15-17
+2 if Cleric CHA is 18+
+1 to a request if lesser sacrifice made.
+2 to a request if greater sacrifice made.
+6 to all requests if Major sacrifice made this week.

Atonement Required- spell denied not further spells may be requested from entity until cleric atones by spending 3-18 days in prayer, fasting, and contemplation. ANY spells of that level or greater are lost unless Deity grants their use for a quest related to atonement. Intermediaries contacted for lower level spells during this period will do so with a -4 modifier.

Stern Refusal- spell denied and all further requests for spells will be made with a -2 modifier. Intermediaries contacted for lower level spells for the next week will do so at -2.

Spell Refused- spell denied.

Spell Freely Granted- cleric is granted use of the spell.

Contacting multiple Intermediaries-
As can be inferred from the table above multiple Intermediaries can be contacted by clerics. A cleric should start play only knowing the prayers and rituals required to contact a single Intermediary. The means to contact additional intermediaries can be sought out or made available as the DM established for the campaign.

A DM could limit the spells that will be granted by speicifc Intermediaries thus compelling the player of the cleric to seek out the means to contact specific Intermediaries to gain access to some spells.


The DM may freely apply situational modifiers. This sub-subsystem weakens the power of the cleric but builds player involvement in the role of playing a cleric.

5 comments:

  1. piety points without the points, nice.

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  2. Interesting idea. I've read that part as well, and wondered about how it would work in play.

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