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The priest of the celestial spheres is a devoted servant of a particular deity, blessed with both martial and spellcasting abilities. He may be holy warrior or missionary, crusader or shepherd of the faithful, or all these things at once. He offers his devotion to one specific deity, and he bends his efforts to seeing his god’s will be done. His choice of magics is shaped by his patron’s portfolio of influence, as is his view of the world itself. A priest is certainly permitted to use his abilities for his own ends, and to improve his own lot in life, so long as he does not violate his deity’s precepts — and so long as he always remembers that the needs of the faith come before his own.
Adventures: Priests may adventure for a variety of reasons. Most commonly, they quest on behalf of their church, or at least on errands they believe their deity wishes of them. These may be general, such as a priest of a good deity seeking to aid others and destroy evil; more specific, such as a priest of a goddess of the harvest seeking to end a specific famine; or extremely particular, such as an attempt to return a holy relic stolen generations before.
Less frequent, but still not uncommon, is the priest questing for his own reasons, such as to rescue a friend, unearth ancient secrets, or simply enrich himself. So long as doing so does not put him at odds with his patron, or take him away from more pressing duties, this is usually acceptable.
The freedom a specific priest has depends largely on the structure of his church and priesthood. A highly ordered clergy may have a strict, even militant system of hierarchy, in which a priest must obey the orders of a superior unless doing so is a blatant violation of religious doctrine. Other priesthoods may be far more lax, demanding only that members volunteer some of their time to advancing church goals.
Although most priests do indeed belong to a church (or holy order, or similar religious institution), a rare few are entirely independent, answering to no one and serving their god as they see fit.While they have the benefit of complete freedom, they cannot call upon the same allies or resources as their church-affiliated counterparts.
Characteristics: Priests are preeminent casters of divine magic. While their spell selection is somewhat limited, as compared to classes such as druids (or clerics, if they exist in the same setting), the priest of the celestial spheres gains additional supernatural abilities based on their choice of spheres. Some turn undead, some command animals, and some can demand favors from fate itself.
All priests of the celestial spheres have a fair degree of combat training, though some are better at it than others. They can use simple weapons, and they are trained in the use of armor, as armor does not interfere with their divine spells.
Alignment: Priests exist of almost all gods, and therefore of all alignments. Priests of good and neutral gods are more common, as more people choose to worship non-evil gods, but wicked priests certainly exist as well. Those priests who belong to churches or priesthoods tend toward law, simply because lawful deities are more likely to have structured churches.
Among independent priests, or those who are members of loosely structured priesthoods, law, neutrality, and chaos appear in roughly equal proportions. A priest may be one alignment “step” away from his deity’s own alignment — for instance, a priest of a lawful neutral god might be lawful good, lawful evil, or true neutral — but most priests match their deity’s alignment exactly.
Religion: Priests may be of any conceivable religion, since priests exist of almost every known god. The number of priests who serve a specific god is usually proportionate to the popularity of that deity. For instance, sun deities tend to be popular in most human cultures, so they are likely to have more priests serving them than, say, a god of the hunt. On the other hand, the god of the hunt may have more worshippers among certain subsistence level tribes. As mentioned above, most priests are sword and ordained members of a church or priesthood, and must uphold the standards and pursue the objectives of that organization.
Background: Priests come from all manner of backgrounds, from the poorest peasant to the children of kings. Most join their churches as teens or young adults, but some become acolytes and wards of the church while still in childhood. Some become so tightly tied in with their order that they have no life outside the boundaries of religious practice and approved quests, while others see their service to their god as just one aspect of their lives, and continue to pursue outside activities.
Formally, all priests of a given deity serve the same master, seek the same goals, and are supposed to honor and respect one another. While this is often the case, particularly among goodaligned and lawful churches, politics, personal vendettas,and differing interpretations of scripture often result in schisms and infighting. Still, the rivalries between priests of the same deity are as nothing compared to the bitter conflict between priests of opposing gods. In less civilized regions, or in times of war and civil unrest, this conflict erupts into open violence.Even during times of peace, these churches clash in vicious political feuds, or even assassinations.
Races: Priests exist among nearly all humanoid races. They are most prevalent among the “civilized” humanoids — humans, dwarves, elves, gnomes, and halflings — but can also be found amongst goblinoids, lizardfolk, orcs, troglodytes, and even some nonhumanoid races such as giants. Not all races are equally likely to take up the life of an adventuring priest, however; humans, dwarves, and
halflings make up the greater proportion of these.
Other Classes: Priests may get along well, or come into conflict, with druids, paladins, and rangers, depending on whether they revere complementary or conflicting powers. The same is true, albeit to a lesser extent, of the priest’s relations with other classes. They tend to respect those who honor the same god, or at least live their lives in ways of which the priest’s god would approve, and to dislike (or at least feel less comfortable with) those who do not.
Similarly, other classes tend to like or dislike the priest in direct proportion to his own attitudes. A priest who heals his fellows and is respectful of their beliefs is welcome, while one who constantly berates them for their activities and condemns their own gods is likely to be less well-liked.
Role: The priest’s exact position in an adventuring party depends largely on his deity and choice of spheres. Some may serve as the group’s default healer, much as the original cleric class often does. Some are most comfortable as party spokesmen, using a combination of Diplomacy and divinations to advance their cause. Others might function well as warriors, standing beside the fighter on the front lines, while still others are capable of hurling punishing spells second only to the most battle-oriented wizards.
Game Rule Information
Priests of the celestial spheres have the following game statistics.
Abilities: Wisdom is, by far, a priest’s most vital ability. It determines how powerful a spell he can cast,how many spells he can cast per day, and how difficult those spells are to resist. Charisma is of great importance, as it influences the number of times a priest may use his primary sphere ability,and in many cases how powerfully that ability functions. Given their frequent roles as secondary fighters, high Constitution and Strength scores are helpful as well.
Alignment: A priest’s alignment must be within one step of his deity’s. (That is, it may be one step away on either the lawful/chaotic axis or the good/evil axis, but not both).
Hit Die: d8.
The priest’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Profession (Wis), and Spellcraft (Int). In addition, his choice of spheres adds a number of additional skills to his skill list, as noted on Table 1–2:Class Skills By Sphere.
Skill Points at 1st Level: (4 + Int modifier) x4.
Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 4 + Int Modifier
Table 1–2: Class Skills By Sphere
|Sphere||Skills Added to Class Skill List|
|Beasts||Handle Animal, Ride, Survival|
|Death||Heal, Intimidate, Knowledge (the planes)|
|Earth||Knowledge (nature), Knowledge (the planes), Survival|
|Fear||Bluff, Intimidate, Sense Motive|
|Flame||Knowledge (nature), Knowledge (the planes), Survival|
|Grace||Diplomacy, Knowledge (arcana),Use Magic Device|
|Illumination||Search, Sense Motive, Spot|
|Knowledge||Decipher Script, Knowledge (history), Sense Motive|
|Lies||Bluff, Forgery, Hide|
|Life||Heal, Knowledge (the planes), Sense Motive|
|Magic||Decipher Script, Knowledge (arcana),Use Magic Device|
|Mind||Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate|
|Plants||Heal, Knowledge (nature), Survival|
|Protection||Heal, Listen, Spot|
|Roads||Knowledge (geography), Ride, Survival|
|Summons||Diplomacy, Knowledge (arcana), Knowledge (the planes)|
|Undeath||Intimidate, Knowledge (arcana), Knowledge (the planes)|
|War||Heal, Intimidate, Knowledge (architecture and engineering)|
|Water||Knowledge (nature), Knowledge (the planes), Survival|
|Wind||Knowledge (nature), Knowledge (the planes), Survival|
Table 1–1: The Priest of the Celestial Spheres
|———————— Spells per Day ——–—————|
|1st||+0||+2||+0||+2||Sphere abilities (3+Cha), aura||3||1||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|4th||+3||+4||+1||+4||Sphere abilities (4+Cha)||5||3||2||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|7th||+5||+5||+2||+5||Sphere abilities (5+Cha)||6||4||3||2||1||—||—||—||—||—|
|10th||+7/+2||+7||+3||+7||Sphere abilities (6+Cha)||6||4||4||3||3||2||—||—||—||—|
|13th||+9/+4||+8||+4||+8||Sphere abilities (7+Cha)||6||5||5||4||4||3||2||1||—||—|
|16th||+12/+7/+2||+10||+5||+10||Sphere abilities (8+Cha)||6||5||5||5||4||4||3||3||2||—|
|19th||+14/+9/+4||+11||+6||+11||Sphere abilities (9+Cha)||6||5||5||5||5||5||4||4||3||3|
All of the following are class features of the priest of the celestial spheres.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Priests are proficient with all simple weapons, with light, medium, and heavy armor, and with shields.Priests who select certain spheres, such as War,may gain additional proficiencies.
Aura (Ex): A priest of a chaotic, evil,good,or lawful deity has a particularly powerful aura corresponding to the deity’s alignment (see the detect evil spell for details; the priest registers as a cleric in the table provided).
Spells: A priest casts divine spells, which are drawn from a list determined by combining the spells offered by his chosen spheres (see Deity and Spheres, below, for more details). Additionally, his alignment may restrict him from casting certain spells opposed to his moral or ethical beliefs; see Chaotic, Evil, Good, and Lawful Spells, below. A priest must choose and prepare his spells in advance.
To prepare or cast a spell, a priest must have a Wisdom score equal to at least 10 + the spell level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a priest’s spell is 10 + the spell level + the priest’s Wisdom modifier.
Like other spellcasters, a priest can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. His base daily spell allotment is given on Table 1–1: The Priest of the Celestial Spheres. In addition, he receives bonus spells per day if he has a high Wisdom score.
Priests meditate or pray for their spells. Each priest must choose a time at which he must spend 1 hour each day in quiet contemplation or supplication to regain his daily allotment of spells. Time spent resting has no effect on whether a priest can prepare spells. A priest may prepare and cast any spell on his sphere determined list, provided that he can cast spells of that level, but he must choose which spells to prepare during his daily meditation. Deity and Spheres: Choose a deity for your priest. Some sample deity concepts are presented below, on Table 1–3: Deities. Check with your DM to see if he is using those presented below, or offering a selection of his own. A priest’s deity influences his alignment, what magic he can perform, his values, and how others see him. From among the spheres offered by a deity, the priest selects three (3) spheres to which he has major access, and two (2) spheres to which he has minor access. (Some deities offer only this precise combination of spheres, so no further decision is required once the priest has chosen which god he serves.)
Spheres to which the priest has major access add all their spells to his class list; spheres to which he has only minor access add their spells up to 4th level, but not 5th or above. All priests may also prepare any of the few spells classified as “Universal,” below. The priest’s class spell list is made up only of the Universal spells, plus the spells from his selected spheres; he does not also have a “core” list on which to draw. A priest may select a sphere to which his god normally grants major access as a minor sphere, but he may not select a minor sphere as a major one.
Duplicate Spells: Several of the spheres share spells in common. It would seem, therefore, that a priest might develop an inferior spell list if he chooses spheres with much overlap. In order to make up for this, a priest functions at +2 caster level when casting any spell that he gains from two or more of his spheres. For instance, spiritual weapon appears in both the Sphere of Summons and the Sphere of War. A 5th-level priest with access to both these spheres would cast spiritual weapon as if he was 7th-level.
Chaotic, Evil,Good, and Lawful Spells: A priest can’t cast spells of an alignment opposed to his own or his deity’s. Spells associated with particular alignments are indicated by the chaos, evil, good, and law descriptors in their spell descriptions.
Sphere Powers: In addition to spells, each sphere grants the priest access to a special associated ability. The priest gains the associated ability for all five of his spheres. Most of these, but not all, are supernatural abilities. Most sphere abilities can only be used a certain number of times per day. A priest begins with a total number of daily uses (called “blessings”) equal to 3 + his Charisma modifier, similar
to the way in which a cleric gains the ability to turn undead. Every three levels thereafter — at 4th, 7th, 10th, 13th, 16th, and 19th — the priest gains one additional daily blessing. These blessings are divided up among all the various special abilities that require them; the priest does not gain a separate pool of blessings for each ability. A special ability’s blessing cost is listed in its entry.
Associated special abilities are described below, under individual sphere entries. In addition to powering sphere abilities, these blessings may also be used to activate certain feats, as described below.
Bonus Languages: A priest’s bonus language options include Celestial, Abyssal, and Infernal (the languages of good, chaotic evil, and lawful evil outsiders, respectively). These choices are in addition to the bonus languages available to the character because of his race.
Ex-Priests of the Celestial Spheres
A priest who grossly violates the code of conduct required by his god loses all spells and class features, except for armor and shield proficiencies and proficiency with simple weapons. He cannot thereafter gain levels as a priest of that god until he atones. Even if both exist in the same setting, a priest cannot multiclass as a cleric, or viceversa. Priest/druid crosses are acceptable, however.