Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Let us pray, Part 2

Clerics of the Trinity
Let's pick up where I left off on detailing the major faith in the Arche realm of my setting, Icosa. I'm stepping through Ray Winninger's recommended approach to detailing the gods and myths of a typical fanatasy RPG campaign based on his series of Dungeoncraft articles. This will help give background to the cleric class from Lamentations of the Flame Princess (LotPF).

3. Describe the Faith and Worshippers

Ray spends a good deal of time talking about ways to take the deities created in the previous steps and creating unique AD&D 2nd edition priests. He does an excellent job describing how to best balance the abilities granted by these deities. This was a pretty big deal in the day. Prior to 2nd Ed. there was only one choice: the cleric. Using LotFP, a close relation of the Old School Renaissance, the cleric in Arche will be closer to that of Basic D&D - one size fits all deities. That's ok by me.

Let me digress for a second here to elaborate on why this approach doesn't bother me, especially because of LotFP. When I started playing D&D all the fighters had the same abilities. What set them apart was their choice of weapons and armor. Also, there was generally no restrictions to background so a player could make their fighter as unique as they wanted even though he had the same chances to hit and saving throws. One fighter really did fit all (or at least most) players.

The same is true of clerics. Most clerics were carbon copies of each other except for their holy symbol. They had a very limited selection of armor and weapons. But what did set them apart was their choice in spells. Even though all clerics used the same spell list, there was nothing preventing a player from selecting only spells that helped further the character's connection to their deity. And really that sort of flexibility is great.

LotFP takes it one step further - no weapon restrictions. There is nothing preventing a cleric from using a sword, which has always been the realm of them fighter types. Now, clerics can chose a suitable weapon to represent their deity. This freedom in an OSR game (as you should hopefully see) gives me enough room to make are essential the same, but have their own flavor. Ok, back from the digression...

So, even though I don't need to come up with a portfolio for each of the gods, this step will certainly help 'flesh' them out. These portfolios will certainly have an impact on many levels of the cleric as well as give some depth to the world.

The Father is the primary god of this trio. He is the law-giver and the light-bringer that nourishes the world.  His role is that of leader and judge, ruling from his heavenly throne with golden spear in hand. He is the blind god, yet all-seeing and all-knowing. His light reveals the truth and little can stay hidden from him for long. He is patient and brooding as ponders the great mysteries of the cosmos.

The son is heir to the heavenly kingdom. He is the war-maker and death-bringer. He is the oath-maker and vengeance-seeker. He is the war-leader and right hand to his father, meting out justice at his father's decree. His flaming sword strikes as quick as lightning and never fails to find its mark. The heavens sparkle with the souls of the honored fallen in battle.

The mother sits at the left hand of the father. She is the clever crafter and thing-maker. She is explorer and seeker. Her silver bow fells enemies from afar and is said to weave the fate of the living and guide them on their course. Fortune and prosperity follow her, but she may just as easily curse the wicked with madness.

With that taken care of, Ray next discusses selecting the correct Alignment for each deity and their followers. Here again, LotFP comes to my rescue. All clerics must be Lawful (which begs the question, why is there a reversed version of certain spells? That is a topic for another day).

The last thing Ray discussed for this step is to establish some ceremonies and restrictions for the faith. Because I'd like to get some variety between the clerical orders devoted to each member of the trio, I want to get at least a few defined before play.

Common duties and services performed by those worshiping this Lawful Trinity include:
  • Clerics of the father act as advisers to the ruling class, are seen as philosophers, and oversee the courts and ceremonies marriage and baptism with services taking place at the beginning of the year, each month and at dawn.
  • Clerics of the son work with the militia and oversee the ceremonies of the dead taking place at dusk as well as ceremonies taking place at the end of each month as well as the end of the year.
  • Clerics of the mother oversee the guilds as well as travel between cities and rites of passage ceremonies taking place on nights of the full moon.
  • Oaths are made while holding the blade of a sword.
  • Evil is warded by making the sign of the Trinity - touching forehead, then right shoulder, then left shoulder or, in a less pronounced manner, by drawing a triangle over the heart.
Originally I had planned for specific restrictions to be associated with each of the three aspects of the Trinity. However, while thinking of it from a player's point of view I decided to create a list of restrictions. All clerics of the faith must tithe a portion (10%) of all money earned to the church. They must also take one of the three vows:
  • Honesty- to always speak the truth (father)
  • Chastity - to never marry or have romantic relations (mother)
  • Service - to always offer their services to the marshal/magistrate of a town or city (son)
I've included which aspect of the Trinity each of these vows is normally associated, however, players can choose to ignore that if they wish as followers of the faith as a whole rather than just one aspect.

That's it for now, I hope to wrap up the Trinity in the next post.


Follow Your Bliss,

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