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Hrobar
2017-09-06, 07:16 AM
I've been having a blast with the Curse of Strahd campaign (No spoilers please :smallbiggrin:), but I'm having trouble RPing my character properly. It's my first time playing a cleric, or even a caster class at all and I'd be happy to receive some advice! Sorry in advance for the wall of text but..
bear with me.

Backstory
I'm playing a LN Living Construct Cleric of Kelemvor, of the Grave Dominion. He was the undertaker for a small village. He doesn't recall anything other than digging graves. As far as he knows he's always been there doing his job and nothing else. During the decades he spent there he gradually gained self-awareness and an interest in sacred rituals. That until Kelemvor appeared to him and "kindly asked him" to help remove the Curse.
He later join the current party, but he don't share with them all his motivations or what Kelemvor revealed him about the nature of the Curse, since he still doesn't trust them enough/doesn't want to involve people that aren't strong enough to help (I've yet to decide).

About General Character Interpretation Tips
Until now, I couldn't keep a coherent take on my character. I started a bit cynical and resigned about my duties, then shifted on a more serious and dedicated fašade (even taking offense when our bard desecrated bodies and tombs for loot).
I figured I'd be dedicated but still doubtful about my mission and belief since I can't yet see a role and a meaning in my existence and awareness. My "goal" is to actually...find one and i figured I'd desperately try to fulfill the mission, even ignoring my doubts, in the hope it helps me find a purpose. Yet i can't find a way to convey this effectively with my words and actions, i'm still kinda clumsy in that ahah.
Considering I'm not very experienced at the game and still a bit shy, playing the serious and mostly silent guy is helping a bit, but i feel like i should give the guy more personality and perks. I should feel more like a person...an organic rock/metal person.

About Civilian Victims and Pity in General
I heal my allies because "their time has not come yet" and Kelemvor needs them still on this plane. However I've asked myself i should i act when someone other than my party is in mortal danger.
I'm LN, so i wouldn't necessarily throw myself in without a second thought. I figured since I buried thousands of innocents of all ages over an unspecified number of years, I'd grow rather desensitized over their fate.
I'd say something on this lines: "Death comes for everybody indiscriminately. If this child fate is to die and i save him today from wolves, he'd later die anyway from hunger, disease or by hand of something else. I can't stop Kelemvor's will."
Yet i don't know if i'd be misinterpreting my faith or simply be horribly out of character/alignment.

On Rituals and Continuous Enemy Burials
Until now i always insisted to bury the enemies we killed, since Kelemvor is not that happy when undead crawl happily around the plane, but it's kinda getting repetitive. I'm consistently bringing it up, and i can feel is gotten old yet i can't avoid that without acting out of character. On the subject, i rarely know what to say or do when i perform a ritual, and there is not much online in terms of Kelemvor's prayers or choirs. Should i write stuff myself or just adapt what i find?

Thanks for the patience, I'd like any advice you can give me! :smallsmile:

Quertus
2017-09-06, 07:58 AM
Reading over Kelemvor's every in the 2e Faiths and Avatars (the best book on such matters that I'm aware of), I see a few points:

You are right, Kelemvor hates the undead, believes in burying the dead, and his followers don't really believe in extending life. Healing the party, and perhaps the wounded, make perfect sense.

But Doomguides are supposed to comfort the dying. To console them that death is not the end, and arguably to put in a good word for them for the afterlife (Kelemvor being just but merciful). And, if death is a mercy, to perform euthanasia. And to chant to alert Kelemvor to expect a new arrival.

Their rituals involve remembering the dead, and a lot of chanting.

Make sure you have a huge, gaudy depiction of your holy symbol (skeletal arm holding golden scales on a gray background) on your clothes over your heart / chest.

Hope that helps.

Faily
2017-09-06, 08:28 AM
Faiths & Pantheons 3.0 also included a section on Kelemvor. I included the more relevant bits:


Clerics of Kelemvor pray for spells at sundown. Most holy ceremonies involve blessing a soul for the transition into the afterlife. If present at the moment of death, a cleric of Kelemvor performs the Passing, a simple ritual alerting Kelemvor to the arrival of this new wanderer on the Final Road. When an entire battlefield or plague-ravaged community requires last rites, Kelemvorite devotees perform the Lament For The Fallen. This ceremony, similar to the Passing, features low, droning chants and rythmic beating of ash staff's upon the open ground. At a private ceremony known as the Dacum, clerics of Kelemvor celebrate their deity's soothing doctrine and fund church activities with the goods of those who have died without heirs. Both Shieldmeet and the Feast of the Moon are of special spiritual significance to Kelemvor's adherents, when clerics recount the Deeds of the Dead that they never be forgotten. Rarely, powerful clerics days to cast True Ressurection, returning to life heroes of the distant past who are needed in the present day.

Dogma: Recognize that death is part of life. It is not an ending but a beginning, not a punishment but a necessity. Death is an orderly process without deceit, concealment, and randomness. Help others die with dignity at their appointed time, and no sooner. Speak against those that would artificially prolong their life beyond natural limits, such as the undead. Do honor to the dead, for their strivings in life brought Faerun to where it is now. Forgetting them is to forget where they are now, and why. Let no human in all of Faerun die a natural death without one of Kelemvor's clerics at their side.


As for trying to get more into the mindset of your character, I would ask the following questions to try and flesh things out more:
1. How does your character feel about Kelemvor?
2. If your party-members were to die, what would you do and how would you feel? Have you spoken to them about what you might do for them if they were to die? (any specific rites they want performed according their own faiths, perhaps)
3. What does your character feel about his own death and mortality?

Hope this helps. I enjoy playing Clerics a lot personally as I like adapting to different philosophies and beliefs, and I hope you will have a good time with playing a Cleric too. :smallsmile:

Hrobar
2017-09-06, 03:53 PM
But Doomguides are supposed to comfort the dying. To console them that death is not the end, and arguably to put in a good word for them for the afterlife (Kelemvor being just but merciful). And, if death is a mercy, to perform euthanasia. And to chant to alert Kelemvor to expect a new arrival.

That's very helpful to know, i guess i can still be cynical about the outcome of my mercy but I'd just be an incoherent jerk if I refused to act. I'll make sure to make my holy symbol visible, maybe I'll try to get some kind of custom mace or even better a shovel. Behold my Divine Dirt!


Help others die with dignity at their appointed time, and no sooner.

And that confirms my jerk hypothesis, ahah.


1. How does your character feel about Kelemvor?
2. If your party-members were to die, what would you do and how would you feel? Have you spoken to them about what you might do for them if they were to die? (any specific rites they want performed according their own faiths, perhaps)
3. What does your character feel about his own death and mortality?

I'd definitely need to delve into these aspects of the character! I'd say I'm getting rather attached to my party, i guess I'll try in my owm akwardly creepy way to show that by asking "How do you want me to bury you?", that'd make for some good bonding moments :smallbiggrin:.
I find question 1 and 3 to be kinda intertwined, as my character doubts and relationship with Kelemvor are rooted in his fear for what comes next. He knows Death and the Afterlife are the only certain, fair things in a land of darkness. Still as a living construct, will he die? Does he actually have a soul? Is he just a machine, a tool for Kelemvor to use and if that's the case, should he go on anyway? Yei, decades of happy thoughts!

Still, thanks for all the tips so far! You've both been very helpful! :smallsmile:

ATHATH
2017-09-06, 03:59 PM
Shouldn't this be in the 5th edition subforum?

Hrobar
2017-09-06, 04:11 PM
Shouldn't this be in the 5th edition subforum?

Considering I wanted to ask general RP advice not related to the campaign or 5th edition rules, i thought it was fine to post it here.
Still, i'm sorry if that's not the case, you're free to move it if needed.

ATHATH
2017-09-07, 12:51 PM
Considering I wanted to ask general RP advice not related to the campaign or 5th edition rules, i thought it was fine to post it here.
Still, i'm sorry if that's not the case, you're free to move it if needed.
Ah, okay, yeah, that makes sense.

Carry on.

MintyNinja
2017-09-07, 06:22 PM
Strange coincidences being what they are, I'm going to be running a similar character starting tomorrow. A Wood Elf Death Cleric of Jergal, so different in his own ways. But reading through your own descriptions and the responses you garnered I couldn't help but answer one of my own questions: Why would I raise an ally? I've determined that if I'm traveling with tough or powerful companions, then the likelihood of them being raised as undead would be higher in this strange land, and so keeping them firmly on this side of the Life/Death balance was more in line with my interpretation of Jergal's will.

So thanks for that.