View Full Version : Pathfinder Cleric Archetype: Shrine Maiden

2018-09-22, 04:09 PM
So Pathfinder has a lot of "Japanese" themed options for martial characters such as samurai, ninja etc.. but is quite lacking when it comes to divine caster options with an oriental theme. While there is a solid 3rd party onmyoji wizard archetype and the sacred fist warpriest does the whole spellcasting Buddhist monk thing well, the classic robe-wearing, ofuda-slinging Shinto priest or Shrine Maiden is next to impossible to do without creating a gimpy/sub-optimal character.

So to rectify this I decided to create a proper shrine maiden archetype for clerics. It's meant to trade armor, weapon variety and domain variety for a stronger casting focus, a slightly larger skill pool and powers that specifically help them deal with haunts, malignant spirits and Kami. This is the rough result. I have no idea how balanced it is though, so any and all help on that front is welcome! I also added in a 3.5e version of this archetype as a cleric variant. Again, no idea how balanced it is. Help is most welcome.

Shrine Maiden



Ofuda Caster

A Shrine Maiden's divine magic comes not from a direct connection to a deity but instead her ability to interact with and petition the Kami through spiritual rituals. However, these simple rituals involve not only incantations and gestures, but special paper talismans called ofuda. You use Charisma instead of Wisdom as your spellcasting ability. This means you use Charisma, not wisdom, to determine the level of spells you can cast and how many bonus spells/day you receive for having a high spellcasting ability. Additionally, you use your Charisma modifier, not your Wisdom modifier, when calculating spell save DCs. If a Cleric spell speficily uses the your wisdom modifier or wisdom score for any purpose, it instead uses your charisma modifier or charisma score.

Additionally, the spells cast by Shrine Maidens differ from those of other divine spellcasters in several ways. The first is that they require complex hand signs, meaning you suffer spell failure as an arcane spellcaster while wearing armor or carrying a shield. The second is that Shrine Maidens cast all their spells through their ofuda. Each of your spells gain an ofuda as it's inexpensive material component(s) in place of any inexpensive material components it would have normally. (inexpensive material components are those that cost 1 gp or less. Any materal components with a gp cost above this must still be provided, as normal) You also uses oufda in place of divine foci for any spells that would require a divine focus, and in place of a holy symbol for your Channel Energy feature, any feats tied to it and any cleric spell that would require one.

This ability alters the cleric’s spellcasting.

Miko Training

Unlike more traditional clerics you focus more on scholarship than martial training, learning a wider variety of skills but only mastering a small handful of weapons and eschewing armor and shields as a result. You lose proficiency with light armor, medium armor, and shields. However, you also gain proficiency with daggers, fighting fans, quarterstaffs, wakizashis, katanas, shurikins, blowguns, shortbows and longbows. Additionally, you add Knowledge (Nature) and Perform to your list of cleric class skills, and receive 2 additional skill points at each cleric level which must be spent on Charisma-based skills or Knowledge (Nature).

This alters the save, proficiencies and skills of the cleric class.

Yurei Hunter (Ex)

As a Shrine Maiden you are trained to deal with malignant spirits and haunts. Starting at 1st level, you can always act in the suprise round against a haunt, and gain a competence bonus to all Knowledge checks made in relation to haunts, spirits and kami equal 1/2 your cleric level (minimum 1).

Spiritual Authority

As a Shrine Maiden you possess divine authority over spirits as well as the undead. You reduce the amount of times you can channel energy per-day to 1+ your charisma modifier (minimum 1). However, you can also effect spirits with your channeled energy. If you channel positive energy, you can harm non-good spirits in the same way you can harm undead. If you channel negative you can heal non-good spirits in the same way you can heal undead. For this feature's effects "spirits" includes all elementals, fey, haunts, and kami. You cannot turn or command non-undead spirits with the Turn Undead or Command Undead feat if you have it.

This feature alters the Channel Energy feature of the cleric class.

Servant of the Kami

Shrine Maidens, due to their patrons being the Kami rather than a deity, receive less domains than other clerics. You gain 1 domain instead of 2 at 1st level. When selecting your domain, you can only choose a domain available to Druids through their Nature Bond feature, or the Healing (if good) or Undeath* (if evil) domain. You can still select sub-domains of these domains as normal. However, all features of your chosen domain that use your wisdom score or wisdom modifier instead use your charisma score or charisma modifier. Additionally, since you don't worship one deity but many, your Aura corresponds to your own alignment instead of that of your deity.

* (The Undeath Domain is a homebrew Domain by Neoxenok of GITPG, which can be found here. (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?490235-Finding-your-Path-in-the-Forgotten-Realms-2-Still-Looking) If this Domain is not allowed in your game, than the Death Domain becomes a selectable domain for evil Shrine Maidens.)

This alters the Cleric's Domain and Aura features.

Kami's Protection (Su)

Since you do not train with armor, the Kami provide you with their protective blessings to shield you from harm. Starting at 1st level, you gain a bonus to your AC equal to your Charisma modifier (if any) while unarmored and not carrying a shield. At 4th level, this bonus increases by +1, and it also increases by an additional +1 for every four levels you gain thereafter (to a maximum of your Cha mod+5 at 20th level).

Kamigakari (Su)

At 1st level you also learn how to let the Kami you interact with when praying for your spells possess you temporarily, giving you access to a bit of its otherworldly magical knowledge. The first time you prepare spells in a day, choose one domain from those available to Druids through their Nature Bond feature, and the Healing (if good) or Undeath (if evil) Domains (You can choose a different domain each day, if you so choose.); during that spell preparation period, you can prepare the spells of that domain in your domain slots as-if they where domain spells for you.

Exorcism (Su)

Starting at 8th level you can, as a full-round action, force a possessing creature or spirit out of the body it inhabits. To exorcise a possessing creature, you make a caster level check (also adding your Charisma modifier, if any), against a DC of 10 + the possessing creature's HD + its Charisma modifier (if any). If your result equals or exceeds the DC, you succeed in forcing the possessor from the body, with the normal results based on its method of possession. A spirit so exorcised cannot attempt to possess the same victim for 24 hours. To perform an exorcism on a creature it must be within 30ft and in your line of sight. You can use this feature a number of times per-day equal to 1 + Your Charisma modifier.

Seal (Su)

Starting at 10th level, you can cast a special version of the Magic Circle spells. To cast a Magic Circle in this way you must prepare it with a +2 spell level adjustment. (This does not count as a metamagic effect.) When cast you throw 5 talismans in a circle around a target location. Once the talismans land, they create a Magic Circle against Evil (or whichever version of the spell the You chose to cast), focused both inward and outward, and the spell duration is set to 1 round per cleric level.

Any enemies within the radius may make a reflex save (DC 10 + 1/2 Cleric level + Cha modifier), if they succeed, they may expend an immediate action to move to a square just outside the seals radius, and they skip their move action on their next turn. For the duration of the spell, any creatures of the appropriate alignment within the radius cannot exit (even by means of abilities or spells that would let them travel or escape to another plane.), or if outside the area cannot enter, unless their spell resistance can overcome the spell. No attacks can enter or leave the spell radius, and anyone who passes through the barrier reduces the remaining duration by one round (the remaining duration will only be reduced in this way up to twice per round).

Battle Maiden

Prerequisites: Perform (Dance) 1 Rank, at least one level in the Shrine Maiden Cleric class archetype

Benefits: You have learned to wield the traditional weapons of the Shrine Maiden's craft through agility and grace instead of brute force. While you are unarmored and not carrying a shield, you can use your Dexterity modifier in place your Strength modifier on all attack rolls you make with katanas and wakizashis. Additionally, you have learned to harness the force of your conviction to strengthen your blows. While you are unarmored and not carrying a shield, you can also use your Charisma modifier in place of your Strength modifier on all damage rolls you make with katanas and wakizashis. Also, you can use your Charisma score in place of your Strength score to qualify for feats with a Strength requirement (such as Power Attack).

Craft Weapon Talisman

Prerequisites: At least 3 levels in the Shrine Maiden Cleric class archetype

Benefits: You may create a special ofuda that binds a spirit to enhance a weapon. When creating the talisman, you selects any number of weapon enhancing spells you know, such as Magic Weapon or Greater Magic Weapon, as long as the sum of the spell levels of the chosen spells do not exceed the highest level of spell you can cast. Creating a Weapon Talisman requires special paper and inks costing 100g per spell level of the spells you wish to add to it, and takes one day per spell level of meditation and careful penmanship.

Once completed, you may use the talisman to cast all the spells attached to it as one action, using a spell slot of equal or higher level to the combined spell level of the spells. You may only have one Weapon Talisman at any given time, though you can discard your talisman at any time to craft a new one. The Weapon Talisman can only enchant the traditional weapons of a Shrine Maiden: the shortbow, longbow, katana and wakizashi.

Note: Male Shrine Maidens

While shrine maidens are always female, this archetype can be taken by male characters. However, if a male character takes this archetype it instead represents a shinto priest/Kannushi, and should be re-named and re-flavored accordingly.

Anyway, no idea how balanced any of this is, so all thoughts and opinions would be appreciated!

2018-09-24, 09:07 AM
So... what, exactly, doesn't make this a straight buff to non-gish clerics? I mean, you have a CHA-SAD class that has over the cleric
-Casting Stat (CHA) to AC, without dipping
-Casting Stat to Turning Attempts (sure, +CHA instead of 3+CHA, but a +12 modifier at level 20 isn't convincing compared to being a bit more MAD).
...Which isn't that much in terms of amount, but those are pretty big step ups for the cost of -- you guessed it -- nothing!

Oh, and Kamigakari doesn't do anything as written. It just lets you prepare your domain spells in your domain slots (which is default).

2018-09-25, 09:25 PM
This is my review for the PF version of the class, since I have little-to-no experience with 3.5e.

Ofuda Caster is nice and flavorful. Trading your Wisdom-based class features in for Charisma-based ones is probably a nerf overall (since Wisdom determines your will save and Perception modifier while Charisma is mostly limited to more niche skills), but not a substantial one, and overall I think this archetype gives enough additional benefits to make up for it. You should probably specify in the Ofuda Caster text that you can't substitute an ofuda for an expensive divine focus (unless you can, but that wasn't my interpretation of the Rules As Intended here).

Miko Training is cool. I'd probably also add Perform to the list of class skills in addition to Knowledge (nature), given that Shinto religious rituals sometimes involved dancing or playing instruments.

Yurei Hunter is a flavorful ability without a lot of uses in normal games that you thankfully don't lose anything to gain. I approve.

Spiritual Authority should probably reduce your channels-per-day to 1+Cha modifier instead of just Cha. Oracle and Shaman both get 1+Cha for their channel pools, and clerics are supposed to be the premier channeling class, even with the extra benefits you're gaining here. Also, how is this ability intended to interact with the Turn Undead and Command Undead feats? Can you use those feats to turn/command spirits as if they were undead (speaking of which, the mention of incorporeal undead is superfluous because the term "spirit" isn't used anywhere else in this archetype and channeling already effects undead)?

I don't have any issues with Servant of the Kami. You certainly gain enough additional abilities (Yurei Hunter, Exorcism, Seal) to basically have the powers of a second domain anyway.

Kami's Protection is nice and I've always wondered why there isn't already a Cleric archetype that gets something like this. Your AC will probably be worse than a regular cleric in the long run, but I figure it's about an even trade with all the hassle of having to buy/enchant/wear armor and shields. This ability should probably mention if the bonus also applies to your Touch AC and CMD, like the equivalent Monk and Sacred Fist class features do.

Kamigakari is the only ability here that I expressly take issue with. You need to scale this one waaaaay back. Being able to cast any domain spell- and being able to cherry-pick from multiple lists at a time, if I'm reading this right- is a ludicrously massive boost to your versatility and vastly superior to the Ecclesitheurge archetype's Domain Mastery ability, which is already a beastly strong trick as it is. If you were to keep this feature at all, I'd probably limit the domain options to those a druid can select with their Nature Bond, in keeping with this archetype's Shinto theming.

Exorcism is... just okay. In a game themed around horror or rampaging spirits, it's probably nice, but you're unlikely to see much mileage out of it that often. The fact that using it probably gets harder as you level up (ghost HD and Charisma modifiers are probably going to scale faster than your class level can) also doesn't sit right with me.

Seal is interesting, in both a good and bad way. It has a lot of effects (on top of being a souped-up version of a spell that already has a lot of moving parts) that don't necessarily synergize super well together, and I'm not 100% on what the effect's intention is supposed to be, exactly. Trap evil outsiders within the seal, I guess? Most level-appropriate outsiders can teleport by the time you get this ability, and the effect doesn't say anything on whether or not it prevents them from doing so. I don't know. It's really hard for me to rate this.

Overall, I'd say this is a solid archetype. It hits that sweet spot of "provides an alternate method of playing a class without radically changing its function", and neither does so in a too-limited way or abjectly makes the class weaker as a result. I have some misgivings about some of the specific abilities, as you can see above, but overall I'm going to give you props. Keep up the good work.

2018-09-26, 02:12 PM
I was about to accuse you of stealing this class (looked very familiar) until I hunted through my subscriptions and saw that you're the original (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?539103-Shrine-Maiden-(Cleric-archetype-class-variant-divine-domain)) poster haha. Anyhow, still a refreshing take on divine casters!

2018-10-04, 03:03 PM
Yeah, as for Kamigakari, I think an easy fix is thus: have the spells you can prepare with it only from a specific domain chosen from the druid's nature domains (but what domain you choose can be changed each day), and limit the domains they can choose their actual domains to both the druid domains, and Healing if good or Undeath (a homebrew domain, will have an option to select Death instead of said domain is not allowed.) if evil.

EDIT: These changes, and others, have been applied.

2018-11-03, 05:23 PM
Sorry for the double post, but I edited the OP, nixing Kamigakari entirely for a new feature that lets the Shrine Maiden get a Shikigami Familiar. Also, for balance reasons, made the heal/harm spirits power cost 2 channel uses instead of just being something your channel can do by default. Thoughts on this would be appreciated!