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Following a Cleric’s Career Path
A character can tread onto a cleric’s career path at any time he gains a new level. The character must possess at least one level of cleric in order to follow a cleric’s career path. In each path’s description, the advancement options section describes a number of skills, feats or other choices that serve both as a road map and a list of prerequisites for that path. The character must possess the following requirements:
- A skill at the requisite rank from that path’s advancement options.
- Two feats from that path’s advancement options, or one feat and one domain from the approved domain list.
- The minimum ability requirement (if any) for that path.
A character may only follow one path at any time. In addition, the path he has chosen must be maintained. Every time the character advances a level, he must do at least one of the following:
- Select a new feat from the career path’s advancement options (only available if his level advancement grants a feat).
- Increase the ability listed as the minimum ability for that path (only available if his level advancement grants an ability increase). Not an option for paths of prowess.
- Increase a skill from that path’s advancement options. If the character is taking a cleric level, he need only spend 1 point. If he is taking any other class level, he must spend 2 points, though he may split this among two different path skills if he wishes.
Note that skills and feats do not change their status regarding the character. Cross-class skills do not become class skills and he must still meet the prerequisites of a feat in the advancement options list before being able to gain it. The career path is more like a road map that restricts the character’s freedom of choice in exchange for a benefit and a clearer sense of purpose.
The character immediately gains a benefit upon entering the career path but also suffers a disadvantage. Some career paths offer several benefits and disadvantages that a character can choose from, representing the different choices present to even the narrowest path. Only one of these benefit/disadvantage combinations is chosen in this case.
A character may voluntarily abandon a career path, and lose both the benefit and disadvantage immediately – this normally happens when the character is preparing to switch to a new career path (possibly not even a cleric path). Switching paths is entirely feasible. This mostly involves time – at least 6 months minus the character’s Intelligence modifier in months (minimum 1 month) between dropping the old path and gaining the new path’s benefits and disadvantages. During this period, the character demonstrates how he is changing his style and philosophy through roleplay. He must still meet all the pre-requisites for the new career path.
If the character gains a level and does not comply with at least one of the career path’s advancement options, he is considered to have abandoned the path. He will lose the benefit (but also the disadvantage) of the chosen path, as he has allowed his top-notch skills to get rusty in favour of training in other areas. In order to regain the path, he will have to wait until he gains another level, this time complying with the path’s advancement requisites, in order to walk the path and gain the benefits once more. Note that a character that has followed multiple career paths and then abandoned his most recent one altogether can only regain the path in this manner for the path he has most recently abandoned. If the character has already exhausted all the advancement options, he has reached the end of that road and is free to pursue other interests, but he only loses the benefit and disadvantage if he wants to.
Sacred and Profane Modifiers
Many of the modifiers described in this chapter, and the rest of Quintessential Cleric II, refer to clerics gaining particular sacred or profane modifiers to certain ability scores, skills, rolls, checks or saves. In all cases, clerics with a good alignment will apply these modifiers as a sacred; evil clerics will apply them as profane. Should the cleric be neutral in regards to good and evil, then it will depend on whether he channels positive or negative energy. Those who channel positive energy gain sacred modifiers; those who channel negative energy gain profane modifiers.
Paths of Holy Devotion
Paths of holy devotion are based on and build upon the character’s devotion to his god and to his church. The paths vary, depending on the cleric’s relationship with the divine and the way he chooses to express his divine spellcasting.
The mortal plane is haunted by spirits of the ether, of fire and flame, holy light and blasphemous silence. These beasts of the outer planes torment helpless mortals, worming their way in the flesh and spirit of unsuspecting victims and riding them into agony, shame and death for their own perverse, unfathomable pleasures. The exorcist is a cleric who takes it upon himself to protect the helpless from the depredations of outsiders, ghosts and invasive spirits of all sorts. His weapon against evil, his sole weapon, is faith. That is all he will ever need.
Adventuring: The exorcist goes where there is need, travelling from city to city and village to village, ever in search of other-worldly intrusions. Fortunately, possessions are not so common that he need spend every waking moment performing exorcisms, which leaves him free to pursue more typical adventures with his compatriots. Most exorcists come to treasure these other adventures, no matter the difficulty and danger involved in their completion, as welcome respites from the harrowing work of pitting faith against the worst that hell and the other nameless, infinite planes of evil have to offer.
Many exorcists choose to take a proactive stance against extraplanar incursion, particularly as they grow in power and experience. For this reason, many exorcists seek out magic items or portals which will allow them to cross over into the lower planes, there to take the fight directly to the villainous dukes and princes of hell.
Roleplaying: Exorcists tend to be grim, which, given that they have to constantly pit themselves against the worst, most blasphemous beings in all the planes, only stands to reason. Still, not all, or even most exorcists dwell on the bleakness and misery inherent in their profession; they cannot, lest the weight of what they have seen and done destroy the strength of their faith and render them spiritually impotent.
Advancement Options: A character follows the exorcist career path by choosing from the following advancement options: Minimum Intelligence 13; Diplomacy 5 ranks, Intimidation 5 ranks, Knowledge (religion) 5 ranks, Knowledge (the planes) 5 ranks; Extra Turning, Iron Will, Negotiator, Persuasive, Skill Focus (Diplomacy), Skill Focus (Knowledge (religion)); Good, Magic or Protection domains.
Benefit: An exorcist can choose from one of three benefits (and corresponding disadvantages):
- Tower of Faith: The exorcist’s will is an unbreakable pillar, immune to temptations of the flesh and of the spirit. He can, when he chooses, add his Charisma modifier as a sacred or profane bonus to any Will saves made during a single round. This benefit corresponds to the Spiritually Staggered disadvantage.
- Worldly: Possessing spirits will promise anything, say anything, no matter how outlandish, if they believe it will allow them to prolong their visit to the mortal plane for even a moment more. As a consequence of this, the exorcist is, thanks to having heard it all before from the greatest liars in all the known universe, largely immune to lies, misdirection and attempts to bluff him. He gains a +2 sacred or profane bonus to all Sense Motive checks. He may always choose take 20 when making a Sense Motive skill check, subject to the usual time requirement. This benefit corresponds to the Untrusting disadvantage.
- Unstoppable Force: When the exorcist focuses his will, the results are awesome to behold. When attempting to exorcise a spirit (see Tricks of the Trade for rules for exorcism), the exorcist can choose to add 1 + his Charisma modifier as a sacred or profane bonus to the check. This benefit corresponds to the Exhaustion disadvantage.
Disadvantage: An exorcist suffers from one of the following disadvantages, depending on the benefit he chose:
- Spiritually Staggered: The effort involved in fortifying his soul against outside influences is so immense that the exorcist suffers actual physical harm in the doing. Each time he uses the Tower of Faith benefit, he suffers 2 points of temporary Constitution damage.
- Untrusting: The exorcist is so used to dealing with those duplicitous otherworldly beings that he can no longer find it within himself to trust anyone. This distrust is obvious to those around the exorcist and does nothing to endear him to them. He suffers a –4 penalty to all Diplomacy skill checks made to convert anyone and a –2 penalty to all Non-Player Character reaction checks. This disadvantage corresponds to the Worldly benefit
- Exhaustion: Focusing his will so sharply that it becomes like unto a hammer is incredibly taxing. Immediately upon using his Unstoppable Force benefit, the exorcist becomes fatigued, as per the rules in Core Rulebook II. If the character is already fatigued, he becomes exhausted.
Pain clears the mind and focuses the will. Pain drives weakness from the body, purifies the spirit and fortifies the soul against temptation. For the flagellant, pain, especially of the self-inflicted sort, is the best way to ensure that faith stays strong and true.
Adventuring: A flagellant is not picky about which sort of quests he undertakes, so long as he has the opportunity to test the strength of his faith against worthy, gruelling challenges. This means that a flagellant will jump at the chance to hurl himself against seemingly impossible odds and will only retreat if his cause is truly hopeless.
Roleplaying: Flagellants live austere, spartan lives, for they believe that comforts of the flesh are impediments to spiritual growth. In this way they are much like monks, focusing all their efforts and considerable will on the evolution of their higher consciousness, the better to connect and, ultimately, merge with their god.
Of course, the defining characteristic of the flagellant is his use of self-inflicted injury as an aid in meditation and spiritual growth. Most flagellants use implements like whips or scourges to purify themselves but others use candle flames, starvation, knives or other, more exotic tools, such as sharpened crystals, petrified leaves or even carefully applied orisons and low level spells.
Advancement Options: A character follows the flagellant career path by choosing from the following advancement options: Minimum Constitution 13; Concentration 5 ranks, Escape Artist 5 ranks, Heal 5 ranks, Survival 5 ranks; Die Hard, Endurance, Extend Spell, Great Fortitude, Iron Will, Toughness; Destruction, Earth, Healing, Knowledge or Luck domains.
Benefit: A flagellant can choose from one of three benefits (and corresponding disadvantages):
- Pain Focus: When a flagellant is injured, he can use that pain as a focus, sharpening his insights and centring himself for the difficulties ahead. Whenever a flagellant is injured in melee combat, or by a spell which inflicts direct damage (such as magic missile), his ability to wield spiritual energy sharpens and he casts his next divine spell at +1 caster level and, if appropriate, with an additional +2 sacred or profane bonus to caster level checks to pierce spell resistance. This bonus corresponds to the Unfocussed disadvantage.
- Pain Eater: The flagellant has beaten all weaknesses out of his flesh and his spirit, rendering him largely immune to pain. He is immune to stunning attacks and cannot be nauseated or sickened. This benefit corresponds to the Harsh Lessons disadvantage. * Purity of Purpose: If the flagellant spends a full minute scourging or otherwise injuring himself, the pain allows him to focus his will and gain great insight into the nature of the world and his place in it. He suffers 1d4 hit points of damage per round and gains a +1 insight bonus per point of damage suffered to a number of Knowledge skill checks equal to 1 + his Wisdom modifier. This benefit corresponds to the Agony of Insight disadvantage.
Disadvantage: A flagellant suffers from one of the following disadvantages, depending on the benefit he chose:
- Unfocussed: The flagellant comes to depend on physical suffering as the key to focusing his will and without it, he is simply unable to concentrate fully upon spiritual matters. When in combat, the flagellant suffers a –1 penalty to caster level, and if applicable a –2 penalty to all caster level checks made to pierce spell resistance when he has not been injured in the same round, or the previous one. This disadvantage corresponds to the Pain Focus benefit.
- Harsh Lessons: The constant self-inflicted agonies the flagellant has suffered make it difficult for his body to fully recover from injury. He heals hit points naturally at only half the normal rate and cure spells heal 1 less point of damage per die than they would normally. This disadvantage corresponds to the Pain Eater benefit.
- Agony of Insight: The damage the flagellant suffers from the self-inflicted injuries of his focusing technique heal only grudgingly and the flagellant’s god is loathe to permit divine magic to heal the wounds, lest the flagellant lose appreciation for his own sacrifices and fall from the way. Damage suffered as a result of Agony of Insight heals at only half the natural rate and cannot be healed by magic. This disadvantage corresponds to the Purity of Purpose benefit.
One of the primary functions of divine magic is to heal the sick, to tend to the injured and to relieve the afflicted from the terrible burden of disease. The healer is a cleric whose compassionate nature expresses itself magnificently through his magic. He is the angel of mercy, he is the open palm and he is, to the peasants he so often nurtures, a symbol of what is best in the divine.
Adventuring: Healers adventure so that they might bring the healing energy of their faith to all the dark corners of the world. They are greatly concerned with the well being of their fellow man and with the advancement of medicine and health. Brave healers venture forth to retrieve powerful artefacts of healing, or in search of new cures, or when they hear rumour of ancient texts of medical knowledge waiting to be found.
They also venture into war, disease and monster ravaged lands and are very proactive in their desire to protect commoners and all innocents from the horrors of battle and the deadly effects of plague.
Roleplaying: While they can be as greedy or gloryseeking as any other adventurer, almost all healers have a strong altruistic streak that drives them to perform acts of mercy and kindness whenever they can. Healers willingly shoulder the burdens of perfect strangers and regularly throw themselves in harms way to protect the innocent; they venture into lands decimated by plague, they till the soil so that the starving can eat and they offer moral counsel to those whose souls ache for succour. In an adventuring party, the healer is the gentle voice of conscience, the calm centre urging discretion and mercy at all times.
Healers are reluctant to cause injury or pain to other intelligent beings and will seek non-violent solutions whenever possible. This does not, however, mean that they are cowards, or even truly pacifists. When confronted by egregious acts of senseless cruelty, the healer can become a truly terrifying, implacable avenger, striking out with the cold, surgical detachment and precision of a surgeon removing a cancerous lesion.
Appropriate Faiths: The role of the healer is intended for clerics of those faiths which are dedicated to the ideals of mercy. Gods of healing, gods of childbirth, of charity, of mercy, of forgiveness, or of good as an idea are likely starting points for clerics who follower the healer’s path. Conversely, and as might be expected, gods of war, of murder, of death, or of destruction are not likely to count many healers among their clerics. Gods of disease have no healers amongst their clergy and would likely strip any who attempted to follow this path of their spell powers, at the least.
Advancement Options: A character follows the healer career path by choosing from the following advancement options: Minimum Dexterity 13; Concentration 5 ranks, Heal 5 ranks, Profession (herbalist) 5 ranks; Great Fortitude, Skill Focus (Heal or Profession (herbalist)), Brew Potion, Self-Sufficient, Tower Shield Proficiency, Toughness; Good, Healing or Protection domains.
Benefit: A healer can choose from one of three benefits (and corresponding disadvantages):
- Merciful: The healer knows how to trigger the body’s natural healing reserves. With a successful Heal check against a DC of 15 plus the character’s level or Hit Dice, his successful first aid attempt returns the dying character to 1 hit point. The healer may still simply make a Heal check at DC 15 simply to stabilise a character as normal. This benefit corresponds to the Peaceable disadvantage.
- Angel’s Grace: The healer’s curative magic is strengthened by his desire to help the injured and the dying. Each cure spell cast by the healer heals two additional hit points per die of healing (so 2d8+4 for a cure moderate wounds spell) . These extra hit points are not considered level based and so do not count against the maximum amount which can be healed by a cure spell (so a cure moderate wounds spell can heal a maximum of 2d8 + 4+ 10 points of damage). This benefit corresponds to the Divine Reluctance disadvantage.
- Limited Immunity: The healer spends so much time in the company of the sick that he builds up a tolerance for the illnesses that afflict them, a tolerance which his divine grace extends to his allies. The healer adds 1 + his Charisma modifier as a sacred or profane bonus to all saving throws against natural or magical diseases and illnesses of all sorts. Allies within a 20 foot radius of the healer gain a +1 sacred or profane bonus to all saves against natural and magical diseases as well. This benefit corresponds to the Spiritual Antidote disadvantage.
Disadvantage: A healer suffers from one of the following disadvantages, depending on the benefit he chose:
- Peaceable: The healer, in his boundless mercy, is reluctant at best to bring injury to another intelligent being. He suffers a –1 penalty to all attack rolls made against beings of at least human intelligence. This disadvantage corresponds to the Merciful benefit.
- Divine Reluctance: The healer’s soul is not capable of channelling his divine patron’s wrath to its fullest extent. The saving throw DC of any spell cast by the healer which inflicts damage of any sort (be it hit point damage, ability damage or level draining) is reduced by 2 and suffers a –2 penalty to any caster level checks to defeat spell resistance. This disadvantage corresponds to the Angel’s Grace benefit.
- Spiritual Antidote: The healer’s spirit is so focused on the eradication of poison and disease that he cannot cure injuries as easily as other clerics. Rather than being able to spontaneously cast cure moderate wounds and cure serious wounds, the healer spontaneously casts delay poison and remove disease instead. This disadvantage corresponds to the Limited Immunity benefit.
Holding true to one’s faith in the face of all the misery and injustice the mortal world has to offer requires a degree of dedication and acceptance of heartbreak that few can muster. To go beyond that, to willingly seek to take the burden of misery onto yourself so that others do not have to, requires courage and faith beyond measure. Yet that is exactly what the martyr does, accepting pain and hardship so that others of his faith can live free and happy.
Adventuring: Martyrs go where suffering is found in abundance, so that they can alleviate the spiritual burdens of those not so blessed with divine favour as they are. This means that martyrs will have little interest in traditional heroic pursuits like ‘kill the dragon and steal its gold’, or ‘pay respect to the heroes of old by desecrating their graves and taking their swords’, or the ever popular ‘orc home invasion’, unless in the doing they will also be able to legitimately alleviate the suffering of others.
Roleplaying: Martyrs tend to fit into one of two broad groupings; either they are almost saintly in their demeanour, kind to a fault, forgiving and giving, or they are cynical and moody, resigned to their duties and joyless, their spirits so calloused by the physical and mental pain they have experienced that they can no longer relate to other mortals. Often, martyrs begin their journey as the more pleasant sorts and then slowly become more and more detached from their emotions as they advance in power and the weight of the many agonies they have suffered begin to take their toll.
Since they are so familiar with agony in all its myriad forms, most martyrs are reluctant to inflict lasting harm on others. This does not mean that a martyr will obligingly turn the other cheek when the first is lacerated into pulp, just that he prefers to talk out problems and reach mutual accord with his enemies, rather than destroy them in a rain of bloody gristle.
Advancement Options: A character follows the martyr career path by choosing from the following advancement options: Minimum Strength 13; Climb 5 ranks, Concentration 5 ranks, Heal 5 ranks, Jump 5 ranks, Spot 5 ranks; Combat Casting, Die Hard, Endurance, Great Fortitude, Iron Will, Maximise Spell, Run, Self-Sufficient, Skill Focus (Concentration), Toughness; Death, Destruction, Healing, Protection or Strength domains.
Benefit: A martyr can choose from one of three benefits (and corresponding disadvantages):
- Immune to Agony: The martyr is so used to living with incredible agony that he no longer even feels injuries which would completely disable others. He is immune to stunning attacks and suffers only half damage from nonlethal damage. This benefit corresponds to the Constant Torment disadvantage.
- Scar Armour: The martyr’s flesh is crisscrossed with scars, with calluses and with seeping scabs which never fully heal. He gains damage reduction 2/– and 25% fortification, allowing him a chance to ignore critical hit damage and extra damage from sneak attacks. This benefit corresponds to the Wound Which Never Heals disadvantage.
- Sympathetic Healer: The martyr’s soul weeps at the injuries of others. His willingness to take on the agony of other living beings gives him an incredible gift for healing. When he casts a cure spell of any sort, the martyr can, if he so chooses, heal an additional number of hit points equal to his Charisma modifier. This benefit corresponds to the Spirit Wound disadvantage.
Disadvantage: A martyr suffers from one of the following disadvantages, depending on the benefit he chose:
- Constant Torment: The martyr is wracked with fever, of the body and the spirit, leaving him more vulnerable than most to debilitating injury. The martyr suffers a –2 penalty to all Fortitude saving throws. This disadvantage corresponds to the Immune to Agony benefit.
- Wound Which Never Heals: The martyr’s body never fully recovers from injury and his daily existence is a torment of broken glass, fire and splintered bone. The martyr suffers a –2 penalty to his Constitution score. This disadvantage corresponds to the Scar Armour benefit.
- Spirit Wound: Whenever the martyr uses his Sympathetic Healer ability, his body and his spirit are made to suffer for it. The martyr suffers an amount of hit point damage equal to one half his Charisma bonus (minimum one point, rounding up) each time he uses the Sympathetic Healer ability. This damage cannot be healed through the use of magic, meaning only time and natural healing will reverse the self-inflicted damage.
In every faith, there are those who follow its tenets more fully than others. The paragon is just such a cleric, the embodiment of his faith’s highest ideals, striving always to better himself and those around him. Paragons are the heart of their church, counted on to lead their fellows to boundless spiritual heights.
Adventuring: Paragons seek to spread their god’s ideals across the mortal plane, usually by the performance of great deeds, though whether these deeds are done in the name of good or evil depends on the nature of the divinity. Paragons are just the sort of folk who join adventuring bands for the glory they, and by extension their god will receive and are also the most likely sort to insist that tales of their exploits be disseminated far and wide, the better to inspire fellow believers to their own best efforts.
Roleplaying: Paragons are confident to the point of arrogance, unless their gods are known for their humbleness, in which case they are as meek as a kitten. In short, a paragon attempts at all times to emulate his god’s behaviour, or at least to emulate what is commonly held to be his god’s behaviour. This sort of attitude leads many of the paragon’s peers in the church to resent or even openly despise him for his ‘presumptive’ attitude. In truth, this bothers the paragon little; he seeks to honour his god by embodying his beliefs in the mortal realm, so what matter if lesser men resent him?
Advancement Options: A character follows the paragon’s career path by choosing from the following advancement options: Minimum Charisma 13; Diplomacy 5 ranks, Intimidate 5 ranks, Knowledge (religion) 5 ranks, Knowledge (the planes) 5 ranks, Perform 5 ranks; Extra Turning, Improved Turning, Skill Focus (Knowledge (religion) or Perform), Spell Focus (school appropriate for deity), Weapon Focus (deity’s favoured weapon); Chaos, Evil, Good, Law or Knowledge domains.
Benefit: A paragon can choose from one of three benefits (and corresponding disadvantages):
- Living Symbol: The paragon is a shining example of his faith’s ideals, an inspirational figure even for those who do not worship his deity. Whenever the character casts one of his domain spells, he can choose to be surrounded by an aura of divine authority, which grants a +1 sacred or profane bonus to a single attack roll or skill check to all allies within a 10 foot radius of him. This bonus must be used within 3 rounds of the domain spell being cast. This benefit corresponds to the Spiritual Weariness disadvantage.
- Mortal Avatar: The paragon has worked so hard to become like his god that his spiritual aura has strengthened, at least in regards to his ability to cast those spells which are most associated with his god. The paragon casts all his domain spells at +2 caster level. This bonus will work whether the spells are prepared using the domain slot or normal clerical spellcasting slots. This benefit corresponds to the Overly Focused disadvantage.
- Unparalleled Champion: The paragon takes his role as embodiment of his god very seriously, so much so that when he fights for what his god believes in most, he is inspired to feats of almost legendary ability. When the paragon fights in direct service to his god, he benefits from a +1 morale bonus to attack and damage rolls. This benefit corresponds to the Crushing Failure disadvantage.
Disadvantage: A paragon suffers from one of the following disadvantages, depending on the benefit he chose:
- Spiritual Weariness: Whenever the paragon chooses to use his Living Symbol ability, he suffers a –1 penalty to all attack rolls and skill checks for a number of rounds equal to the number of allies who benefited from his inspiration. While so wearied, the paragon cannot use the Living Symbol ability again.
- Overly Focused: The paragon is so focused on the domain spells of his god that the rest of his spellcasting suffers. He casts all non-domain spells at –1 caster level. This disadvantage corresponds to the Mortal Avatar benefit
- Crushing Failure: The paragon fights with unparalleled confidence but only so long as he is succeeding in his duties. If the paragon does not successfully hit an opponent at least once during any round in which he uses his Unparalleled Champion ability, then he suffers a –1 penalty to all attack and damage rolls and Will saves for the following remainder of the encounter (during which the Unparalleled Champion may not be used).
The True Believer
Every adventuring cleric has faith in his god; their ability to work divine miracles in the form of spells is proof of that. But not every cleric has the same degree of faith. The true believer has a faith in his god that defies easy description. It goes beyond such concepts as reverence, or unkind labels such as fanaticism, to a pure love which cannot be stilled, cannot be dissuaded and will endure unto death and the end of time.
Adventuring: Everything the true believer does is inspired by his love for his faith and for his god, therefore his adventures will be as well. He adventures primarily to spread the word of his god through the performance of good or evil works and he will, without hesitation, throw himself into any quest which he feels will reflect well on his god and meddle in any event which he believes will harm his god’s reputation or goals.
Roleplaying: True believers tend to be zealots, though by no means does that mean they are all wild-eyed fanatics. True believers filter all their opinions through their faith’s doctrine and always seem to have a bit of appropriate scripture ready for every occasion. True believers are assured in their faith and there is little chance of convincing them that their church’s doctrine could be mistaken about anything. For all that, most true believers can be as affable as the next person, at least so long as no one insults their god.
Advancement Options: A character follows the true believer career path by choosing from the following advancement options: Minimum Wisdom 13; Decipher Script 5 ranks, Diplomacy 5 ranks, Intimidate 5 ranks, Knowledge (religion) 5 ranks, Listen 5 ranks; Alertness, Iron Will, Leadership, Negotiator, Skill Focus (Diplomacy or Knowledge (religion)), Widen Spell; Chaos, Evil, Good, Law, Sun or War domains.
Benefit: A true believer can choose from one of these benefits (and corresponding disadvantages):
- Unbreakable Faith: The true believer is so focused on his love for his god that he cannot be persuaded to love another. The true believer gains a +2 morale bonus to all saving throws against mind affecting spells and spell-like effects which are intended to enslave him to the will of another, such as charm person, suggestion or the powers of a satyr’s pipes. This benefit corresponds to the Fanatical disadvantage.
- Comforting: The true believer’s unwavering assurance in the rightness of his love is comforting in times of trouble. He can inspire his allies with a sermon as a full-round action; with a successful Diplomacy skill check against DC 15, he grants them a +1 morale bonus to all saving throws for a number of rounds equal to his Charisma bonus. This benefit corresponds to the Broken Faith disadvantage.
- Best Effort: Faith can move mountains and when backed by love, it can move two. Once a day per class level, the true believer can add his Charisma modifier as a sacred or profane bonus to any attack roll, skill check or attribute check. This benefit corresponds to the Emotional Exhaustion disadvantage.
Disadvantage: A true believer suffers from one of the following disadvantages, depending on the benefit he chose:
- Fanatical: The true believer is so obsessed with his god that he is thoroughly unpleasant to be around, as he gives off an aura of fanaticism that is quite unnerving. He suffers a –1 penalty to all Charisma based skill checks (except Intimidation). This disadvantage corresponds to the Unbreakable Faith benefit.
- Broken Faith: Though his own faith can never be shattered, the true believer cannot help but be disappointed in himself when his teachings fail to inspire others. Should an ally fail a saving throw after the true believer has successfully used his Comforting ability, then the true believer suffers a –1 morale penalty to his own saving throws until either the same ally succeeds at another saving throw, or the Comforting ability ends.
- Emotional Exhaustion: In the round immediately following the use of the Best Effort ability and for one round after that, the true believer suffers a penalty to all attack rolls, skill checks and attribute checks equal to his Charisma modifier.
Paths of War
The paths of war develop the theme of the cleric as devoted warrior of his faith. The paths are based around the many ways in which a cleric can use force of arms to protect his church and spread its doctrine.
One of the most important missions any faith has is to tend to and preserve the spiritual purity of both its flock and its own hierarchy. While it is nice to believe that a few words from the kindly priest in the local church is capable of setting any miscreant on the straight and narrow, that is nothing but a pleasant fiction. Rooting out and destroying spiritual corruption is a hard job which requires hardened men, men who are not afraid to torture and even sacrifice the flesh of those who wander if it will restore and preserve the soul for the world beyond.
The inquisitor does a thankless job. He is the ‘boogie man’ of the faith, the holy terror that is whispered about in confessionals and bishop’s chambers alike. No one, least of all the inquisitor himself, likes the fact that his position exists, but all recognise the necessity.
Adventuring: The typical inquisitor does not adventure, per se, preferring to confine himself to rooting out the corruption in his faith. Still, in a world as full of fantastical creatures and magic as the typical campaign setting, this means he has ample opportunity to come into conflict with the traditional adventuring enemies.
Some inquisitors, particularly those of good alignment (who, as a rule, have the hardest time reconciling their actions with their beliefs) will occasionally take breaks from their duties to explore the world. They do this as a means of restoring their faith and cleansing their palates, as the many horrors the inquisitor must witness and inflict during the course of his career will eventually break down even the strongest will.
Inquisitors make excellent detectives, the combination of their spells and their naturally high Wisdom and Charisma giving them an almost unmatched ability to root out corruption in all its forms.
Roleplaying: Inquisitors are hard men, trained in the arts of intimidation and terror. Most get so far into their roles as detective, judge and jury that they cannot act any other way, meaning they have a tendency to overwhelm those around them with brooding, dark stares and rapid questioning. Since they are so much more adept at pushing people away than they are at making friends with them, most inquisitors are achingly lonely, though they would be loathe to admit that ‘weakness’ to anyone.
There are, however, inquisitors whose personalities are absolutely the reverse of the above. Ingratiating, friendly and sunny in temperament, they leave those around them wondering why every other inquisitor, indeed every other cleric, is not like them. The answer is; because most clerics are not unrepentant liars. The friendly inquisitor is, if anything, more dangerous than his moody peer, for he will hide behind a mask of goodwill and friendship, saying all the right words, making all the right gestures, so that he earns absolute trust and becomes everyone’s favourite confidant. Then, he strikes. Such inquisitors are like rainbow snakes; beautiful to look at but no one should ever get too close.
Advancement Options: A character follows the inquisitor career path by choosing from the following advancement options: Bluff 6 ranks, Diplomacy 6 ranks, Disguise 6 ranks, Gather Information 6 ranks, Intimidate 6 ranks, Sense Motive 6 ranks; Alertness, Deceitful, Investigator, Iron Will, Negotiator, Persuasive, Skill Focus (any skill listed above); Fire, Knowledge, Law or Trickery domains.
Benefit: An inquisitor can be extraordinarily intimidating, devilishly subtle or incredibly honeytongued, with advanced training in persuasion techniques to supplement his already formidable presence. Choose a Charisma based skill (not Handle Animal or Use Magic Device); he adds his Wisdom bonus as a competence bonus to all skill checks which involve that skill.
Disadvantage: While the inquisitor’s stern presence serves him well in many instances, it does not win him many friends, nor does it encourage others to treat him with anything more than cautious courtesy. Choose a Charisma based skill (not Handle Animal or Use Magic Device); the character receives a penalty equal to his Wisdom modifier on all checks involving that skill.
The Strong Right Hand
Every faith needs its enforcer, the man of god who understands when it is necessary to take drastic, violent action against the enemies of the faith. The strong right hand is just such a person, using his spells and weapons with brutal precision to safeguard the sanctity of his church and his god.
Adventuring: The strong right hand is just the sort of cleric the typical adventuring party needs, a bruiser capable of mixing it up almost as well as the warriors, while still able to throw destructive enchantments with ease.
The strong right hand is most concerned with safeguarding his church and with punishing those who transgress against it. For that reason, his adventures most often involve retributive strikes against blasphemers and thieves who have stolen church property and seek and destroy missions against suspected enemies. Most who follow this path are reluctant to adventure for any reason not directly concerned with their church, since if they are away, they will not be able to protect what they love the most.
Roleplaying: Strong right hands are tough, hardened men, well used to violence and conversant with the skills of war and of intimidation. Most know little else, or at least give no indication that they do. When the strong right hand is not lashing out at his church’ enemies, he is training and when he is not training, he is planning his next attack. Since they are so single minded and so pre-disposed towards quick, decisive violence, it can be difficult for a strong right hand to connect on any sort of emotional level, even with those who adventure with him on a regular basis. Despite this, the strong right hand is a great person to have on your side; he will be loyal unto death to those who actually manage to befriend him.
Advancement Options: A character follows the strong right hand career path by choosing from the following advancement options: Concentration 6 ranks, Intimidation 6 ranks, Jump 6 ranks, Ride 6 ranks; Cleave, Combat Expertise, Combat Reflexes, Improved Unarmed Strike, Mounted Combat, Power Attack, Tower Shield Proficiency, Weapon Focus (deity’s favoured weapon); Destruction, Strength or War domains.
Benefit: When the strong right hand confronts the enemies of his faith, he is filled with a righteous fury that is terrible to behold. He can attempt to demoralise all enemies within 30 feet of him once per combat, as a free action using an Intimidate check. If he is confronting enemies who are known opponents of his god, or who have inflicted injury or insult upon his church (attacking the strong right hand does not count as injury or insult to the church as a whole), then he may add his Wisdom modifier as a sacred or profane bonus to the check and all opponents who are overcome are shaken for a number of rounds equal to his Wisdom modifier. This benefit corresponds to the Endless Anger disadvantage.
Disadvantage: The strong right hand is filled with a terrible anger which he is hard pressed to keep under control. Due to this, it is easy to make him fly off the handle and into a reckless rage. He also has trouble relating to those around him, since the tangible aura of barely restrained violence scares most sensible folk. The strong right hand suffers a –2 penalty to all Sense Motive skill checks to resist being feinted in combat and a –2 penalty to saving throws to resist the effects of spells which alter his emotions, like rage. He also suffers a –2 penalty to all Non-Player Character reaction checks made which involve anyone not of his faith.
The Witch Hunter
One of the most dangerous threats facing the myriad faiths of the mortal is the presence of a significant number of cults dedicated to the worship of lower planar beings. These groups, which are to a one composed of savage, unrepentantly corrupted beings, would like nothing better than to throw down the godly faiths and replace them with bloody cults whose sole reason for existence is the summoning of demon hordes and devil armies to the mortal plane. The witch hunter is a cleric who has sworn to defend his faith and, indeed, all the world, from this darkest of evil.
The witch hunter tradition is a long one, stretching back to a time when superstition reigned and any spellcaster who was not a cleric was ‘obviously’ possessed by demons. The witch hunters no longer hunt and persecute witches but the name has stuck.
Adventuring: The witch hunter is primarily concerned with hunting down and destroying demon-worshipping cults, with no thought given to mercy or quarter. With the incredible number of cults in the typical campaign world, the witch hunter never lacks for something to do.
Witch hunters try to be as proactive as possible, infiltrating the underbellies of the largest cities, or prowling the wilderness and skulking about rural villages, in the hope of discovering and thwarting cult activity before demons are actually summoned. When a witch hunter reaches the apex of his abilities, he often takes the fight against demons directly into the bowels of hell itself, conducting lightning strikes against the very home of evil.
When not directly involved in the hunting of a demon cult, witch hunters like to sharpen their skills by testing themselves against other powerful monsters. At such times, they can be persuaded to attempt almost any daring adventure, so long as it does not conflict with their basic morality.
Roleplaying: The witch hunter is very dedicated to his mission, to the point of single minded obsession. Since cultists come from all levels of society and since wily cultists can hide their demonic corruption from even their closest family and friends, witch hunters tend to be suspicious of everyone they meet. They often will not willingly sleep or otherwise let their guard down around even those they have known intimately for years. This, as you might imagine, can cause a great deal of tension in the adventuring party but most witch hunters are wise enough to keep their suspicions reined in as best they can.
Advancement Options: A character follows the witch hunter career path by choosing from the following advancement options: Gather Information 6 ranks, Knowledge (arcana) 6 ranks, Knowledge (the planes) 6 ranks, Sense Motive 6 ranks, Spellcraft 6 ranks Use Magic Device 6 ranks; Negotiator, Greater Spell Penetration, Heighten Spell, Improved Counterspell, Investigator, Iron Will, Point Blank Shot, Rapid Reload, Skill Focus (Knowledge (arcana)), Skill Focus (Knowledge (the planes)), Skill Focus (Spellcraft), Spell Penetration; Chaos, Good, Knowledge, Law or Magic domains.
Benefit: The witch hunter knows special techniques for turning the power of his faith against manifested demons, devils and other lower planar creatures. By burning a turn use for the day, he adds a +2 sacred bonus to all attack and damage rolls against evil outsiders and adds a sacred bonus equal to his Wisdom modifier to all caster level checks made to pierce their spell resistance. These bonuses last for a number of rounds equal to his Charisma modifier.
Disadvantage: The witch hunter is so focused on the destruction of demons, devils and evil outsiders that his ability to destroy the undead is severely impaired. The demon hunter suffers a –4 penalty to all turn checks made against undead beings.
Paths of Scholarship
The cleric is much more than a spellcasting holy warrior and mobile hospital. Priests and clerics are the foremost scholars of any fantasy world, wise in both secular and religious matters. The paths of scholarship are themed around the ways which a cleric may use and share his knowledge and the means he uses to attract new believers to his church.
The evangelist is similar in nature to the missionary, though his purpose is not to travel the world seeking converts but to whip the masses who already observe his faith into a religious fervour, the better to insure that the church and his god always has a fanatically loyal base of worshipers. The evangelist is a compelling icon of the church, the sort of person who does not need spells to move mountains.
Adventuring: Evangelists do not adventure, at least not in the traditional ‘storm-the-dungeon’ sense. Since their power base is strongest in major cities where their faith is well established, that is where they tend to remain. That said, there is much opportunity for conflict and adventure in cities, particularly since rival faiths and secular power groups have a vested interest in limiting the evangelist’s power. This means that intrigue will figure heavily in their adventures, with the evangelist and their opponents playing cat and mouse games of stroke and counter-stroke.
Roleplaying: Some evangelists are impassioned, fire and brimstone preachers, while some are imposing godheads who communicate a thousand messages in just a few words but all have overwhelming personalities. The evangelist’s natural charm and their ability to work their audiences to a froth of religious ecstasy is unparalleled, meaning they are likely to find friends and allies wherever they go.
In the adventuring party, the evangelist will naturally gravitate to the leadership position, though he will defer to another so long as he is allowed to be party spokesman and so long as his faith is given adequate acknowledgement. Despite their impassioned love for their god, evangelists can and do work well with holy men of other faiths; in a polytheistic society, clerics do not have the luxury of despising all other gods.
Advancement Options: A character follows the evangelist career path by choosing from the following advancement options: Bluff 6 ranks, Diplomacy 6 ranks, Perform 6 ranks; Extend Spell, Extra Turning, Leadership, Negotiator, Persuasive, Skill Focus (Diplomacy), Skill Focus (Perform), Widen Spell; Chaos, Evil, Good, Law or Trickery domains.
Benefit: The evangelist’s ability to attract fanatically loyal followers is unmatched. He gains a +2 sacred or profane bonus to his Leadership score for determining the number of followers he can attract. Also, by using a turn use for the day and focusing all his efforts on bombastic preaching, the evangelist can whip the crowd into a frenzy of religious ecstasy. When performing a sermon, the evangelist can burn a turn use for the day to double his Charisma modifier for his next Diplomacy or Perform check. This counts as a sacred or profane bonus. This advantage corresponds to the Tongue Tied disadvantage.
Disadvantage: The evangelist’s obvious skill at attracting fanatically loyal followers is very threatening to those in power. The evangelist suffers a –2 penalty to all Diplomacy or Non-Player Character reaction checks involving members of nobility, or members of rival clergy. Also, the most impassioned sermons always leave the evangelist drained, taking all he has to offer and leaving nothing. After burning a turn use to gain his Charisma bonus when sermonising, he must make a Fortitude save (DC 15 + your Charisma bonus) or become fatigued.
Not every cleric concerns himself with smiting the enemies of the church. Some prefer to concentrate their efforts on more peaceful goals, namely the spreading of their gods’ faith through preaching and sharing of the sacred texts. Missionaries are explorers and teachers, kind hearted ambassadors of their god whose good works fill the church pews and coffers alike.
Adventuring: Missionaries love to travel, particularly if their travels lead them to civilised areas which have not yet seen the light of faith. Since so much of a typical fantasy campaign world is wilderness, this means that missionaries are exposed to many of the dangers of both the wilderness and urban environments. Given that, the possibilities for adventure are near endless.
As they progress in power and gain access to more powerful travel magic, most missionaries are only too happy to take their holy work to other planes, there to gift the strange beings who dwell there with the truth of their faith.
Missionaries understand that, in the course of their duties as evangelists and ambassadors, they will come into conflict with both monsters and, more importantly, with rival faiths and other enemies of the church. They view these conflicts as opportunities to both renew their own faith and to prove the value of their teachings through demonstrations of courage, wit and skill.
Roleplaying: The two traits that all missionaries share is unshakeable faith and a burning desire to share that faith with everyone around them. Almost by necessity, most missionaries are gregarious and open, always ready to meet new people and attempt to bring them into the fold. Part salesman and part ambassador, the missionary wears his faith on his sleeve and wants everyone to know it.
In other matters, missionaries tend to be stereotypical examples of their faith. If they worship a noble god of war, they are brave to a fault and forever preaching of the glory to be found in engaging in righteous battle. If they worship a god of trickery, then they espouse the virtues of cunning and preach amongst the thieves of the slums and children of all social strata.
Advancement Options: A character follows the missionary career path by choosing from the following advancement options: Bluff 6 ranks, Diplomacy 6 ranks, Knowledge (religion) 6 ranks, Knowledge (geography) 6 ranks, Speak Language (selected at least twice), Survival 6 ranks; Athletic, Craft Wondrous Item, Empower Spell, Endurance, Great Fortitude, Leadership, Negotiator, Self-Sufficient, Track; Knowledge, Luck or Travel domains.
Benefit: The missionary is protected by the gods of travel and luck, allowing him to make excellent time in even the worst conditions. The missionary is always considered to be moving across highway terrain for the purposes of determining how far he can travel each day. He also gains a +2 sacred or profane bonus to resist any spell or effect that attempts to silence him or impede his movement in any way.
Disadvantage: The missionary’s purpose sets him at odds with those of rival faiths. The missionary suffers a circumstance penalty equal to his Charisma modifier when rolling Non-Player Character reaction checks involving clergy members of rival faiths.. Also, though the missionary can move with speed each day, the spirit winds which drive him forward are punishing on the mortal frame. When fatigued or exhausted the missionary suffers from a –2 penalty to Wisdom and Intelligence until rested.