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Niek
2011-08-08, 08:53 PM
An issue has come up in the game I am currently running, where the player of the party cleric expects that when his character goes to pray for advice at the temple, her deity will respond by giving her a feeling indicating one way or the other.
I as the DM had a couple of problems with this. The first and most troublesome was that I am not in a position to be able to describe a "religious experience", as became readily apparent when I attempted to do so (I had the torches in the room brighten and become warmer in response, which was meant to be a comforting gesture but to which the player responded with mere puzzlement). Secondly, I don't see it as my place as the DM to dictate to a player what I see as being a facet of their own character's emotional state.
The player suggested that since I wasn't capable of providing a satisfactory description of the experience he would simply "roleplay the god's response himself." Without seeing any better option I agreed, though neither of us is entirely happy with the situation.

I have two questions regarding this situation.

1) Is this sort of divine feedback standard for D&D clerics? I've never encountered it before this game, though this may just be due to none of my players running clerics before. The player in this case though claims that it is impossible to have a setting that contains clerics without such a relationship between them and their deities.

2) Does anyone know of a alternate way of dealing with the situation? As I said, neither I nor the player is entirely happy with the compromise, since he sees the feedback as being more hollow if he has to make up the description himself and I agree.

Hiro Protagonest
2011-08-08, 08:59 PM
I think "divine energy flows through you, giving you power in the form of your spells" works.

Togath
2011-08-08, 09:15 PM
Do you mean he wants some sort of roleplay description when he casts a spell such as raise dead/true resurrection?
or do you mean he wants you to describe when he prays for new spells at the start of today?
giving a description could occur when raising someone from the dead, but just praying or casting a standard spell doesn't need or warrant a description.
and his claim that it is needed for cleric in a setting is incorrect, as far as I know that is uncommon, at least in DnD, even more so as clerics don't need deities if they donít want to have one, as long as they have some sort of cause(even an odd one such as wanting to become the king of a county of anthropomorphic peacocks, oddly they don't have any set rules I can find for what kind of cause a cleric can represent)

edit #2; I just looked it up on the SRD, looks like they don't even need a cause as stated below;

If a cleric is not devoted to a particular deity, he still selects two domains to represent his spiritual inclinations and abilities.
now I sort of want to make a NPC cleric who is an insane hobo

Niek
2011-08-08, 09:21 PM
The player in question is opposed to deity-less clerics.


The situation this came up in wasn't related to preparing or casting spells. His character had gone to the temple for advice on how to handle the differences between her worldview and those of the rest of the party, after a particular adventure's outcome led her to question whether she should be traveling with the others. At first I tried to impart the advice through a more senior cleric NPC, but the player wanted his character to have a direct religious experience in addition to that.

Ravens_cry
2011-08-08, 09:22 PM
Most of the time in D&D games I am aware of, it's kind of brokered thing "I gives you the worship, you gives me the POWAH, capeesh?"
But that's kind of boring in my opinion.
It shouldn't come up constantly, that ruins the mystery and majesty of it, but a more interactive approach might be appropriate, especially in worlds where gods are certain and active. It could be dreams, visions, or even visitation by physical manifestations, though I recommend the latter for extreme circumstances.

Hiro Protagonest
2011-08-08, 09:36 PM
The player in question is opposed to deity-less clerics.


The situation this came up in wasn't related to preparing or casting spells. His character had gone to the temple for advice on how to handle the differences between her worldview and those of the rest of the party, after a particular adventure's outcome led her to question whether she should be traveling with the others. At first I tried to impart the advice through a more senior cleric NPC, but the player wanted his character to have a direct religious experience in addition to that.

Gods are busy and have lots of clerics. Tell him that the closest he'll get to a direct divine sign without visiting the god on their home plane is talking to an angel. Of course, angels will give out spells and send signs. It's only if he requires that he actually sees the god that you should tell him it's an angel.

Niek
2011-08-08, 10:10 PM
I gave him the "the gods are busy" argument, and he said basically what you said, that they would delegate prayer-answering duties to their subordinates. But the result on the cleric's end would be the same from the way he is arguing, that there would be some sort of sign from the higher powers whenever the cleric needed it.

Nyarai
2011-08-08, 10:18 PM
1. I'd say yes and no. Gods aren't omnipotent, so they can't stop the world to solve your PC's quandary. However, if he wants advice from on high, there are divination spells for that. It shouldn't be something he experiences every time he walks into his temple and puts two silver in the collection.

Augury (Cleric 1)



An augury can tell you whether a particular action will bring good or bad results for you in the immediate future.

The base chance for receiving a meaningful reply is 70% + 1% per caster level, to a maximum of 90%; this roll is made secretly. A question may be so straightforward that a successful result is automatic, or so vague as to have no chance of success. If the augury succeeds, you get one of four results:

Weal (if the action will probably bring good results).
Woe (for bad results).
Weal and woe (for both).
Nothing (for actions that don't have especially good or bad results).

If the spell fails, you get the "nothing" result. A cleric who gets the "nothing" result has no way to tell whether it was the consequence of a failed or successful augury.

The augury can see into the future only about half an hour, so anything that might happen after that does not affect the result. Thus, the result might not take into account the long-term consequences of a contemplated action. All auguries cast by the same person about the same topic use the same die result as the first casting.


Commune (Cleric 5)


You contact your deity--or agents thereof--and ask questions that can be answered by a simple yes or no. (A cleric of no particular deity contacts a philosophically allied deity.) You are allowed one such question per caster level. The answers given are correct within the limits of the entity's knowledge. "Unclear" is a legitimate answer, because powerful beings of the Outer Planes are not necessarily omniscient. In cases where a one-word answer would be misleading or contrary to the deity's interests, a short phrase (five words or less) may be given as an answer instead.

The spell, at best, provides information to aid character decisions. The entities contacted structure their answers to further their own purposes. If you lag, discuss the answers, or go off to do anything else, the spell ends.

2. I'm not very good with the religious revelations either. Were I to fake it, I'd go with a generic "sense of peace" kind of thing. You could probably google divine revelation/intervention for first-hand accounts.

If you mention what deity he worships, that may produce more specific ideas. Then again, he seems like a bit of a drama llama and catering to his every whim might encourage him.

Ravens_cry
2011-08-08, 10:20 PM
@Niek:
Needed it, yes. But how often will a cleric, a mortal servant of a deity, who gets direct divine intervention every day in the form of turn/rebuke undead and spells, need some special sign?

Drachasor
2011-08-08, 11:23 PM
I gave him the "the gods are busy" argument, and he said basically what you said, that they would delegate prayer-answering duties to their subordinates. But the result on the cleric's end would be the same from the way he is arguing, that there would be some sort of sign from the higher powers whenever the cleric needed it.

You mean a subordinate like a senior NPC cleric?


Most of the time in D&D games I am aware of, it's kind of brokered thing "I gives you the worship, you gives me the POWAH, capeesh?"

I've actually always found this idea fairly disturbing.

Ravens_cry
2011-08-08, 11:59 PM
I've actually always found this idea fairly disturbing.
I agree. While signs and portents need not, in fact (in my opinion) shouldn't, be constant, some people play clerics as armoured mages with different spells. And, while not wrong, I never liked that way of playing. I like to play religious characters as religious people with deep convictions and faith. I also am not saying other character can't have such, but if you are receiving magic from your god, you probably have some kind of connection with them, unless the setting says otherwise.

Drachasor
2011-08-09, 12:18 AM
I agree. While signs and portents need not, in fact (in my opinion) shouldn't, be constant, some people play clerics as armoured mages with different spells. And, while not wrong, I never liked that way of playing. I like to play religious characters as religious people with deep convictions and faith. I also am not saying other character can't have such, but if you are receiving magic from your god, you probably have some kind of connection with them, unless the setting says otherwise.

I'm not sure we entirely agree on things. I find the worship for power thing disturbing because it is like the god saying "be servile and I'll give you stuff." Now, I can see an Evil god doing that easily. A god of Good? They seem more like the type to give power to people who are philosophically aligned with them.* So a Cleric of Pelor might go "yeah, Pelor's a great super-powered entity, and I follow him because I agree with his goals and trust his judgment."** It would seem odd for Pelor to demand people worshiping in some sort of genuflection. That's an unseemly show of dominance for good-aligned deities, imho.

Be postwarned, I'm an atheist so my views here are related to that.

*Err, not that Evil gods wouldn't do that. I am just saying the Evil ones would be bigger on domination, worship, and that sort of thing.

**I don't think this precludes faith, though it is different than religious faith in the real world.

Ravens_cry
2011-08-09, 12:46 AM
How about you think of it this way.
If you are a person, even a Good Person, are you more likely to help your friends or some random stranger? How about someone actively working against your goals?
Clerics and their gods?
They're BFF.
Still another way to look at it is to see it as a cosmic organization. Like many organisations, it has a hierarchy. Mortal clerics are just as much members of this organization as any solar or devil, working toward whatever the gods goals are.
Instead of servant/master, its boss/employee. Just like in the real world, there is good bosses and bad bosses.
Both could be true in the same pantheon, the latter been possibly more common in lawful deities.
Unfortunately for this discussion I am religious, and we can't really get into more detail in how I play religious characters without getting into real-world religious questions.

flumphy
2011-08-09, 01:01 AM
I'm not sure we entirely agree on things. I find the worship for power thing disturbing because it is like the god saying "be servile and I'll give you stuff." Now, I can see an Evil god doing that easily. A god of Good? They seem more like the type to give power to people who are philosophically aligned with them.* So a Cleric of Pelor might go "yeah, Pelor's a great super-powered entity, and I follow him because I agree with his goals and trust his judgment."** It would seem odd for Pelor to demand people worshiping in some sort of genuflection. That's an unseemly show of dominance for good-aligned deities, imho.

Be postwarned, I'm an atheist so my views here are related to that.

*Err, not that Evil gods wouldn't do that. I am just saying the Evil ones would be bigger on domination, worship, and that sort of thing.

**I don't think this precludes faith, though it is different than religious faith in the real world.

I don't see it as a show of dominance on the part of the deity so much as benevolently aiding those with similar philosophies. But honestly, I'm not sure a show of dominance is entirely a bad thing. There are a bunch of evil deities out there who have no problem expressing their power. Is it such a bad thing to demonstrate that someone powerful is looking out for the good guys? Provided the display doesn't harm anyone, of course.

Some of the most memorable scenes I've had as a player were direct or indirect interactions with deities*, and while I agree that those instances should be rare, I think the possibility of such a thing happening adds a lot of richness to the world. Encouraging spirituality opens up a whole new avenue for all characters, not just clerics, to explore.

*Granted, one of those was my husband roleplaying an avatar of Torm as a stereotypical surfer. Still trying to decide if that was memorable in a good way or not.

hamishspence
2011-08-09, 06:16 AM
There's a feat in Power of Faerun for clerics whose deities send them dramatic divine messages.

And Faerun novels often have deity-cleric interaction. Sometimes the cleric is the one advising the deity- when the deity is somewhat foolish or reckless.

Zen Master
2011-08-09, 07:20 AM
I'd go with:

When the layman prays, he mumbles words and hopes they are heard - and possibly even reacted upon. You however, are not a layman. You do not mumble words and hope. Your prayers have power, and are always heard.

The process of praying, for you, is called 'casting spells.'

Mumbling words like a layman is not only obviously pointless to you. You *know* better. It's also, to your god, sort of like a dog begging at the table.

hamlet
2011-08-09, 07:25 AM
In my view, it all sort of boils down to a couple of questions that need to get answered.

1. How personal (i.e., how much can one say a deity has a personality) do the gods have? Are gods identifiable beings/entities, or are they just named, overarching concepts. I.e., the great god Paladine who likes to come down to the mortal planes dressed as Fizban, or the overarching deified concepts of chivalry, goodness, etc. A personal god is more likely to speak directly, or even delegate communication to a PC cleric.

2. How close are your gods? I.e., how close to the setting. Are they distant and ineffible? Are they constantly interfering personally? Are they traipsing about the world in avatar form just for the hell of it? Can you swing a dead cat about without hitting a god in disguise?

3. (and about here is where you move into the realm of meta-gaming, so . . .) How much guidance do you want the player to have? And make no mistake, this is player guidance at this point. Irrefutable divine revelation is, in this context, about as close to the DM telling the player what to do as you can get without actually telling him what to do. "Yer god says stop screwing with people who think differently than you!" is kind of direct, even if you couch it in metaphorical or symbolic terms. It can be a potent and useful tool if you want to include omens directly from the divine, but be careful about how you use them. They're best as light touches rather than hammer heavy knocks to the noggin.

4. How much existing structure is there within the organize/semi-organize religion? To take a real world example, some Protestant religions foster a more personal, one on one relationship with God whereas the Catholic church traditionally has a large and regimented "support structure" that exists for a reason. If the religion in question is more akin to a Catholic structure, then likely the priest might be committing a bit of a faux pax if he's doing an end run around his ecclesiastical superiors and confederates. Perhaps he should be talking to a higher ranked priest instead, who, as an NPC, would be happy to dispense advice to the young priest, but might have his own motivations and might be a good way to introduce further elements of the campaign that you want to with a lighter touch than "the god comes down and orders you to do something." Keeping things at the human level tends to maintain the apparant power of the gods and avoid the "Thorprayer Busy Signal" concept.

All that said . . . divine revelation, at best, is a nebulous affair. Remember, you're dealing with entities that are as far beyond humans as humans are beyond a virus. It's a mistake to place gods into the same vector as just any other NPC, but one with lots more power. Communication between gods and mortals should always be fraught with peril, interpretation, misinterpretation, and confusion. That's why cannon (i.e., holy books) exist. They're the idiot's guide to specific religions, and even then, they are rife with "grey areas" that mere mortals either cannot or will not comprehend.

In the instance you describe above, I, personally, being a jerk, would have had the main cannonical codex of the player's religion drop off of a podium and land with a loud and resounding thud that shatters the silence of the temple. Of course, this is contingent upon you having, beforehand, described the god and the faith surrounding the god in enough detail that the player could make reasonable assumptions about the nature of the religion. And hey, even if you haven't, things he comes up with can certainly become part of the setting. Who knows, perhaps he can start a new schismatic sect if you decide that he hasn't breached the covenent with the deity even if the rest of the faithful do not hold with his interpretation of scrpture! Things can get more interesting that way.

Drachasor
2011-08-09, 07:29 AM
I don't see it as a show of dominance on the part of the deity so much as benevolently aiding those with similar philosophies. But honestly, I'm not sure a show of dominance is entirely a bad thing. There are a bunch of evil deities out there who have no problem expressing their power. Is it such a bad thing to demonstrate that someone powerful is looking out for the good guys? Provided the display doesn't harm anyone, of course

You misunderstood me. I'm talking about the act of worship, allies metaphorically (or literally) prostrating themselves before an entity they like just because it is more powerful and gives them stuff. I'm not talking about the deity doing cool stuff.

Story Time
2011-08-09, 08:16 AM
1) Is this sort of divine feedback standard for D&D clerics? I've never encountered it before this game, though this may just be due to none of my players running clerics before. The player in this case though claims that it is impossible to have a setting that contains clerics without such a relationship between them and their deities.

2) Does anyone know of a alternate way of dealing with the situation? As I said, neither I nor the player is entirely happy with the compromise, since he sees the feedback as being more hollow if he has to make up the description himself and I agree.


Hi Niek!


I do not know.
Merits or flaws.


This is only one opinion and it may be wrong... But from the description it sounds like the player wants to role-play some kind of...conversation between their cleric and a greater being. Now, I don't have a lot of experience with Dungeons & Dragons. But I know that there are Merits and Flaws which exist, or could be made up, to justify the facilitation of that dialog between the cleric and their deity. Also, at the bare minimum the cleric could be smacked up-side the head the next time they grovel for demanding such exclusive attention from their deity.

At the very least a cleric should be able to take it as a sign that if they can prepare their mystical stuff then that probably means the deity isn't upset with the cleric's performance.

If, and it does seem that this is the case, the player expects some kind of...spiritual or meta-physical communication between the cleric and deity then you'll have to ask yourself if you're comfortable with that. If so, all you really have to do is describe an emotional sensation, even in the briefest detail, that the cleric senses. Now, I don't know whether the deity character in the setting has the kind of power to make their clerics feel things, see things, hear things, or experience things, but a description of, "Cleric hears incomprehensible whispering that seems content," might be enough.

If more is required maybe you could find some music to play, something short, during the encounter. The music could be the response forcing the cleric character, and the player, to puzzle out the meaning. You could state, as the GameMaster, that the thoughts and emotions of the deity are too far beyond the capacities of the cleric's mind and spirit to accurately comprehend.

Anyway, just some thoughts for you. I hope things go well! Let us know what happens or if more develops.

crimson77
2011-08-09, 09:12 AM
2) Does anyone know of a alternate way of dealing with the situation? As I said, neither I nor the player is entirely happy with the compromise, since he sees the feedback as being more hollow if he has to make up the description himself and I agree.

I have an idea. Roll a d6 in front of the player and consult the table below.

{table]Roll|Description
1-2|Bad feeling/ill omen
3-4|Neutral feeling/neutral omen
5-6|Good feeling/good omen[/table]

If the player asks for more specifics say, that his "god" is specifically choosing to inform him based upon his emotions. It is the characters job to interpret the feelings in the appropriate ways. If the player (or another character) brings up a mismatch (based in hindsight); for instance, a bad feeling but a good outcome, this could be interpreted as the cleric was able to prevent the bad thing from occurring or there could have been a minor thing (e.g., NPC dying) which is why the character received an ill omen.

Take home message, give the player something ambiguous to work with and see what he/she does with it. That is my two CP.

Traab
2011-08-09, 09:25 AM
"Why should your god directly respond to you as if you were some sort of ultra important high priest or champion, especially when there are already senior clerics in the temple willing to tell you the generally accepted answers to your issues?" Seriously, we are talking about a GOD here, what makes this cleric feel so special that the god him/her/itself should pick up the phone and chat with him to answer all his problems? So unless this character is roleplaying the grand high muckety muck of his gods religious order, thinking he deserves a direct access to his god to answer his questions is a bit arrogant of him imo.

Calmar
2011-08-09, 09:35 AM
Well, technically the divine influence manifests itself in the divine spellcasting; and in most games I've seen, the player casts divine spells and doesn't gives a carp (http://uberbastard.com/ubstrd/press/wp-content/uploads/2008/02/carp.jpg) about the deity or what s/he represents.

I am happy about every rare player that wishes to meaningfully role-play a devout character. I believe this should be rewarded. Not every prayer needs to answered and not every answer needs to be a divine visitation by an angelic emissary. It does not even need to occur immediately. If the course of the events of a session permits and/or if you want to have some time to think of a meaningful answer, have the player have a dream vision some nights later, or have him witness a supernatural event that hints at the right course of action. Also, the gods should not rely on flashy effects. Sometimes the advice of a more experienced senior cleric who is closer to the diety might be the best way to deliver a message (Athena does that over a long time when she manifests herself in Mentor, the mentor of Odysseus' son Telemachos :smallwink:).

Analytica
2011-08-09, 09:39 AM
First: Many DM-created settings and some very successful published settings do not include clerics of causes or the like. For all I know, this might be one of those settings.

Second: I tend to see the deities as quite able to interact with multiple clerics at once. They are not talking to its main consciousness, but are interacting with some part or manifestation of its divine mind. Arguably, though, the deity can communicate more clearly the more cleric levels the supplicant has - the class/caster level basically determines how well you are able to channel the deity. So a high-level cleric might hear its voice, whereas a low-level cleric merely "feels" some things as "good" or "bad".

Third: This is an excellent arena for nice roleplaying experiences, if you are comfortable with it. If it does not take up too much time from the experience of the other players, I would say go for it. Complete Divine IIRC have some suggestions on it. Otherwise, if you want, research (Wikipedia) religious experiences and visions. I would require the player to do some work as well: let them work out what their prayers and ceremonies are like. Then when they are performed, describe some emotions welling in from what appears to be an outside (or inside!) source, shards of images, words, symbols. Maybe external manifestations: four of eight candles on the altar are suddenly lit.

Fourth: You could see the portfolio of a certain deity as its mindset. When communing for spells, you want to achieve as compatible a mindset as possible. I can see voodoo- or dervish-like ecstatic dancing, rituals causing pain or pleasure, silent meditation, or recanting the glories of the deity. Looking at deity books like Faiths and Pantheons for AD&D FR, most powers there also want sacrifices, often of incense, valuables or the like. It could be seen that giving/destroying something of real value is in fact a mental focus to let the cleric truly prove to themselves how strong their faith is, which might be needed for their souls to be able to attune with deity to receive spells.

Frozen_Feet
2011-08-09, 10:15 AM
In D&D, if a Cleric really, really wants to hear a divine second opinion, they do it like they do almost everything else:

They cast spells.

Augury, Divination, Commune, Contact Other Plane, Gate; these abilities are the in-game model for calling God.

If the Cleric does not have or use these abilities, nothing special happens.

Calmar
2011-08-09, 12:40 PM
Post

I really like that. :smallsmile:

Drachasor
2011-08-09, 01:03 PM
In D&D, if a Cleric really, really wants to hear a divine second opinion, they do it like they do almost everything else:

They cast spells.

Augury, Divination, Commune, Contact Other Plane, Gate; these abilities are the in-game model for calling God.

If the Cleric does not have or use these abilities, nothing special happens.

Agreed. The Deity already has setup a Call Line with various clearance levels for VIPs. If there's Important Crap happening outside of that then they'll get in touch with you.

Katasi
2011-08-10, 04:28 PM
I suggest giving the cleric a divine intervention that he WON'T like one bit. Perhaps literally.... imagine the deity and a bunch of his angels coming to give the cleric and intervention for his neediness.

Or maybe something less pleasant.

Drachasor
2011-08-10, 05:22 PM
I suggest giving the cleric a divine intervention that he WON'T like one bit. Perhaps literally.... imagine the deity and a bunch of his angels coming to give the cleric and intervention for his neediness.

Or maybe something less pleasant.

That makes the cleric seem too important.

A Celestial Badger should come and mentor him.

big teej
2011-08-10, 05:51 PM
provided I'm reading your post correctly, my response to a cleric "seeking guidance at the temple" would be...

1) you continue to have the ability to channel divine energy in the form of your cleric class features

2) okay, cast commune, or contact other plane, or some similar spell.


the way I see it, the fact you're casting divine spells IS representative of the very real and tangible link between a cleric and their item of worship.

Mark Hall
2011-08-10, 06:00 PM
In D&D, there's some spells and items that do those sorts of things; Augury is a 2nd level cleric spell, and the Phylactery of Faithfulness is a relatively low-power item.

In the standard cosmology for D&D, Gods don't even directly answer the prayers of most mortal clerics... they delegate that to lessers, and only higher level spells (5th and higher in AD&D) are granted by deities, directly.

So, yeah, I'd generally say you're not going to get that.

dps
2011-08-10, 09:22 PM
The situation this came up in wasn't related to preparing or casting spells. His character had gone to the temple for advice on how to handle the differences between her worldview and those of the rest of the party, after a particular adventure's outcome led her to question whether she should be traveling with the others.

As a DM, you've got to look at this practically. I would assume that you don't want the character to quit traveling with the rest of the party? In that case, have her god tell her that as long as her motivation for traveling with them it to advance the god's cause, she has the god's blessing to do so, regardless of the motivations or actions of the rest of the party. On the other hand, if you for some reason want the character to leave the party, have her god tell her that he will withhold his blessings if she continues to travel with them. Or you can do something in between, like have the god tell her that she can continue to travel with them, but has to perform some right of purification or penance after each adventure, or after the passage of a certain amount of time. Or if you really want to **** with your players, have the god tell her that she is tasked with converting the rest of the party to his worship, and not only does she have his permission to travel with them, he now demands that she do so.

In other words, let her have a vision, or a direct audience with her god, or impart the knowledge of her god's will to her in whatever manner you decide on (ideally, it should be "in character" for a god of whatever alignment and powers her god is) and use that message to get the player to try to do want YOU want. And it's not railroading in this case, 'cause the player asked for it.

Roderick_BR
2011-08-11, 08:02 AM
Gods are busy and have lots of clerics. Tell him that the closest he'll get to a direct divine sign without visiting the god on their home plane is talking to an angel. Of course, angels will give out spells and send signs. It's only if he requires that he actually sees the god that you should tell him it's an angel.
Agreed. Your average joe cleric can't expect his deity to come in "blaze and glory" to tell him what to do. A senior cleric has as much autority to advice him as his deity would have. At best, he could be directed to a place with a central temple with a high-priest or something, that is the closest he can get to a direct representative of his deity, and that's someone he CAN'T turn down, because he's the local autority for him.

Rannath
2011-08-11, 12:58 PM
Alright, I like to use this one:
Some background for this answer first, here's how I run Clerics:

Gods don't give you spells at all. Clerics are different from priests in one respect. They are innately capable of magic.

Clerics receive training and knowledge from their gods(or churches), not power (excluding miracle).
Clerics recieve their entire spell list because their entire spell list is in their holy books.

This lets you do a few things.
Introduce some religious uncertainty
wing all divine interactions
make a system where clerics aren't extroting power from their gods.


As for divine guidance I use "God works in mysterious ways":


Cleric prays, gets no answer
Cleric gets disheartened
Cleric receives answer in way that may or maynot be from their god, after they've nearly forgotten about it.


Note: this works beacuse my players know I'm agnostic(so I'm not really up on the whole religion thing) and they know I don't like setting down a definate planescape.

flumphy
2011-08-11, 09:44 PM
First, let me say that as a DM it is your right to have creative freedom with your setting. But at the same time, some of the greatest satisfaction can be derived from seeing your players have fun.

A lot of people play D&D for wish fulfillment. Out-of-shape guys can pretend to be a barbarian with nigh-supernatural strength. People with little control over their real lives can wield the primal forces of the universe. And I strongly suspect that this guy played a cleric because he wanted to play in a world where the gods were tangible and real.

Unless you plot hinges on the fact that the gods are distant and disinterested, would it kill you to let a player have that? And if it does, then you should be warning everyone before they roll up a divine class.

Pyrite
2011-08-12, 01:36 AM
I would just like to point out that if every minor acolyte or missionary has a direct line to their god, and is always answered correctly, that pretty much eliminates any possibility of intrigue or secret heresy within the church.

Ravens_cry
2011-08-12, 01:59 AM
I would just like to point out that if every minor acolyte or missionary has a direct line to their god, and is always answered correctly, that pretty much eliminates any possibility of intrigue or secret heresy within the church.

Well, that assumes all priests, bishops, what have you, are Clerics. Receiving power from a god could conceivably be much rarer and most clergy are just as well represented by Experts or Aristocrats.

Story Time
2011-08-12, 06:26 AM
[...]if every minor acolyte or missionary has a direct line to their god, and is always answered correctly, that pretty much eliminates any possibility of intrigue or secret heresy within the church.

Without putting too fine a point on it, heresy exists because of greedy or corrupt humans ( or other races ) doing what they want rather than listening to their deity-of-choice. Intrigue is essentially the same, some foolish soul trying to lie to others in a long string of false-hoods before eventually being exposed by the clear message of the deity-of-choice.

hamishspence
2011-08-12, 07:17 AM
In Faerun greed and foolishness aren't the main reasons for heresy.

Indeed, if a heretical faction gets enough power, they can end up reshaping the deity to match their own views.

A case could be made that this happened near the end of 3.5 with Lathlander- that he was reborn as Amaunator because the Risen Sun heresy (which has him being Amaunator before in the past) became powerful.

Drachasor
2011-08-12, 07:54 AM
Well, that assumes all priests, bishops, what have you, are Clerics. Receiving power from a god could conceivably be much rarer and most clergy are just as well represented by Experts or Aristocrats.

Doesn't matter. Direct God Line means you ask "Hey, anyone in the Church up to bad stuff that I need to put a stop to? Oh really? Who?"


In Faerun greed and foolishness aren't the main reasons for heresy.

Indeed, if a heretical faction gets enough power, they can end up reshaping the deity to match their own views.

A case could be made that this happened near the end of 3.5 with Lathlander- that he was reborn as Amaunator because the Risen Sun heresy (which has him being Amaunator before in the past) became powerful.

To be honest this doesn't make much sense in FR where the gods interact with mortals pretty directly. I mean, Lathander could have set them straight anytime.

hamishspence
2011-08-12, 08:44 AM
But set which side straight- the mainstream one, or the "heretics"?

Maybe the deities don't care so much about what their followers believe, and more about what they are doing to further the deity's cause.

If Faerun is like Planescape, then "belief" may actually be able to rewrite reality, over time.

Drachasor
2011-08-12, 09:13 AM
But set which side straight- the mainstream one, or the "heretics"?

Whichever he dislikes.


Maybe the deities don't care so much about what their followers believe, and more about what they are doing to further the deity's cause.

Well, when there's an alignment different between sects, that seems a little odd.


If Faerun is like Planescape, then "belief" may actually be able to rewrite reality, over time.

All the more reason to nip it in the bud if you don't like this new reality they are preaching.

Rannath
2011-08-12, 04:48 PM
First, let me say that as a DM it is your right to have creative freedom with your setting. But at the same time, some of the greatest satisfaction can be derived from seeing your players have fun.

A lot of people play D&D for wish fulfillment. Out-of-shape guys can pretend to be a barbarian with nigh-supernatural strength. People with little control over their real lives can wield the primal forces of the universe. And I strongly suspect that this guy played a cleric because he wanted to play in a world where the gods were tangible and real.

Unless you plot hinges on the fact that the gods are distant and disinterested, would it kill you to let a player have that? And if it does, then you should be warning everyone before they roll up a divine class.

No, but it would kill my setting. I like to add mystery to my setting, so I never let the players KNOW that gods exist.

For the Cleric the gods are real because he believes they are real (even if they aren't). For everyone else the gods may or may not exist, and thats the way the gods want it (if they exist, which in my setting is up to the DM).

If the gods exist they aren't disinterested, just secretive. In fact this is the primary idea of my setting: Gods lie for good reasons (or are a lie for good reasons) and Devils tell the truth for evil reasons. (Demons are just there.)

Another setting I like using has the Asian idea of gods for everything. There are major gods ala D&D, but you can choose to pray to "the god in your left boot" if you want to. In this setting gods are omnipresent. Familiars and animal companions are veeeeerrry weak gods. Items are enchanted by imbuing them with gods. You can talk to the gods around you, befriend them, use them or abuse them.

Pyrite
2011-08-12, 06:48 PM
Without putting too fine a point on it, heresy exists because of greedy or corrupt humans ( or other races ) doing what they want rather than listening to their deity-of-choice. Intrigue is essentially the same, some foolish soul trying to lie to others in a long string of false-hoods before eventually being exposed by the clear message of the deity-of-choice.

Yes, and plots involving heresy and intrigue are interesting. They make for good stories. These stories are short circuited if every 1st level cleric knows instantly after their nightly prayers exactly what's rotten in the state of Denmark.

This is the exact reason why divination spells are relatively high level and very conservative in scope. Being able to get answers from the heavens eliminates many opportunities for drama, and so it's an option that needs to be strictly controlled.

Ravens_cry
2011-08-12, 07:31 PM
They can, if care is not taken, ruin other plots. Speak with Dead, the most truly necromantic necromancy spell, has the potential to ruin a murder mystery. Or, it can add to it.
There is a body and the head is missing, or they didn't see their killer, or they thought they did, but they were wrong. Raise dead also has complications. Many murdered people would want to come back. It can also add to the mystery if you have a good reason why they don't.

As for the clerical relationship with their deity, you can go the ambiguous Eberron route. You could go even further and have 'divine' magic explicitly a magic done by priestly mages and not really divine at all, though this may be kept hush hush. Or you could have gods be real, definite, but also really not human, not caring who worships them or how. Personally ,I like this route, especially as presented in Dragon #77 in the article Elemental Gods.

Or you could go the "Jerks with Superpowers" route where gods are not only very human, with human personalities and emotions, but perhaps also potentially killable.
Such gods are more likely to care about articles of faith and dogma, but are also less likely to have any kind omniscience.

Katasi
2011-08-13, 01:51 PM
That makes the cleric seem too important.

A Celestial Badger should come and mentor him.

Celestial Badger would work, lol.