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    Canonfire :: View topic - Speciality Priests & Deity Spheres
    Canonfire Forum Index -> Greyhawk- AD&D 2nd Edition
    Speciality Priests & Deity Spheres
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    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Sep 20, 2004
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    Tue May 14, 2013 5:13 am  
    Speciality Priests & Deity Spheres

    As suggested I thought I'd start up a new thread for us to have a re-think about the various spheres the deities grant and their speciality priest abilities as we have all commented they often seem very arbitrary (such as the Charm sphere being granted to every deity with a whiff of emotion in their portfolio!)

    I started a process of making some tweaks of my own - I've done a bunch - possibly too many to just copy and paste in one long list so I thought maybe we could just tackle a couple as a time.

    I didn't use a point buy system to do this, I just went on gut feeling mostly of what seemed suitable often consulting other campaign setting and sources like the MOnster Mythology or Legends & Lore.

    I did use the following as a rough (and I mean rough) guide with regards to granted spheres;

    Greater - 6 major spheres / 4 - 6 minor
    Intermediate - 5 major spheres / 4 - 6 minor
    Lesser - 4 major spheres / 4 - 6 minor
    Demi - 3 major spheres / 2 - 4 minor

    I'm not sure the best way to start - so maybe alphabetically but if anyone wants to discuss a specific deity just shout!

    Also - please bear in mind I didn't have any qualms veering away from canon so apologies for any deviations!
    Adept Greytalker

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    Tue May 14, 2013 5:15 am  

    Al'Akbar (Demi)
    Guardianship, Faithfulness, Dignity & Duty
    AB Std;
    AL LG, LN;
    WP falchion, scimitar, dagger, knife, spear, mace;
    AR any up to scale;
    RA white robes (True Faith), white or tan robes trimmed with gold or purple (Exalted Faith), men wear turbans, women a simple white-gold circlet;
    SP All, Combat*, Divination, Guardian, Healing*, Law, Protection*, Sun*;
    SPL none;
    PW 1) receive Ancient Baklunish as a bonus proficiency; 3) know alignment 1/day; 5) create food & water 1/day; 7) divination (no materials needed) 1/week; 10) atonement 1/day;
    TU turn -3 levels.

    Allitur (Lesser)
    Ethics, Propriety & Tradition
    AB Wis 13, Cha 13;
    AL LG, LN;
    WP any bludgeoning, spear, broadsword;
    AR any;
    RA white robes;
    SP All, Charm, Combat*, Divination, Healing*, Law, Necromantic*, Thought, Travellers*;
    SPL none;
    PW 1) mount (light horse with saddle & reins) (W1) 1/day; 3) messenger 1/day; 5) know alignment 1/day; 7) detect lie 1/day; 10) quest 1/week;
    TU turn.

    Atroa (Lesser)
    Spring, East Wind & Renewal
    AB Wis 9, Con 12;
    AL any good;
    WP any non-metal;
    AR any non-metal;
    RA knee-length green robes embroidered with red;
    SP All, Charm*, Creation*, Elemental (Air), Healing, Necromantic*, Plant*, Time, Weather;
    SPL none;
    PW 1) +2 saves versus ageing, rotting or withering effects, if a save would not normally be allowed the priest may still make one with no bonus; 3) gust of wind (W3) 1/day; 6) regenerate 1hp/turn; 12) regenerate 1/day;
    TU turn -2 levels.
    GreySage

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    Tue May 14, 2013 3:57 pm  

    Wolf Cub! Boy, am I gonna love to discuss this thread! Happy

    Frustrated with the lack of a 'complete' compendium of priestly information for the Oerthian pantheon beyond what has been given us, my main player and I put our collective heads together and hashed out some ideas as you have done.

    Here is what we offered for Al'Akbar, the Baklunish analog to what we perceived as St Cuthbert/Pholtus (maybe with a dash of Heironeous too):

    Al’Akbar
    (High Cleric, Restorer of Righteousness)
    LG demigod of Guardianship, Faithfulness, Dignity, and Duty
    SYMBOL: Cup and Talisman
    WOR. ALIGN: LG, NG, LN, N
    Requirements: AB Wis 14; AL LG, LN; WP falchion (1st), scimitar, dagger, any bow or crossbow, mace, flail, club; AR any metal; SP All, Charm*, Combat, Divination, Guardian, Healing, Law, Necromantic*, Protection, War*, Wards*

    We have yet to flesh out ideas for specialty clerical powers.

    For Allitur, here is what we concocted:

    Allitur
    LG (LN) Lesser God of Ethics and Propriety
    SYMBOL: Clasped hands
    WOR. ALIGN: LG, LN, NG
    Requirements: Char 13; AL LG, LN; WP Spear or javelin (1st); AR chain or less; SP All, Charm, Combat*, Divination, Guardian*, Healing*, Law, Protection, Thought, Travelers

    Again, nothing yet on specialty powers.

    Information on Atroa was written in a Dragon Magazine...at some time...and I have it...somewhere...but will dig it up and post it, too.

    -Lanthorn
    Adept Greytalker

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    Wed May 15, 2013 1:27 am  

    I'm foreseeing some good debates ahead!

    It looks like our Allitur specs aren't too disimilar - I forget now why I included the broadsword as an allowed weapon - maybe to reflect their martial aspects as punishers and executioners but I think I also tend to think of the broadsword as a traditional Flan weapon so perhaps that's why. I added a minor sphere in Necromancy to represent a connection with the ancestors and the overseeing on some funerary rites as well as Allitur's connection with the ream of Mertion which is a place of pilgrimage for those wishing to be cured of ailments and revitalised.

    I drew much of my inspriation for Atroa from that Dragon article but I felt the speciality priests needed toning down a bit.

    As for Al'Akbar's spheres as a demi god I wanted to curb the number of spheres he granted, as well as other demi-gods who got the same treatment!
    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Wed May 15, 2013 1:38 am  
    Re: Speciality Priests & Deity Spheres

    Wolfling wrote:
    I did use the following as a rough (and I mean rough) guide with regards to granted spheres:

    Greater - 6 major spheres / 4 - 6 minor
    Intermediate - 5 major spheres / 4 - 6 minor
    Lesser - 4 major spheres / 4 - 6 minor
    Demi - 3 major spheres / 2 - 4 minor


    I wouldn't recommend doing that, because exactly who wants to play the garbage priest?

    I prefer to think of it this way- mortals cannot fathom the power of even the least of gods, and a mortal cannot channel more divine power than they are capable of, even the priests of the least of gods. To channel more power than this would blast a mortal into oblivion. As such, the more powerful gods cannot grant a mortal more power than a lesser god can, simply because even the greatest of mortals can handle only so much divine power. The spells listed in the Spheres define what mortals are capable of handling; whether those spells come from a lesser god or a greater god is irrelevant. Therefore, every god can grant roughly equitable power to mortals, because the question is not one of what the gods are limited to doing, but of what mortals are capable of.

    Look at it this way. Clerics of all of the gods have the same spell lists and capabilities. The specialty priests, as presented, are all lopsided to hell though. Every single specialty priest should be equitable in power to a basic Cleric. The easiest way to do that is to use the points buy system. The reason why some Spheres have low costs and some high costs is not only due to the number of spells in the Sphere, but also due the power/utility of the spells in that Sphere. When a priest has access to fewer/less useful Spheres, simply because it seems the most suitable thing to do, they need to have other suitable capabilities to make up for that shortcoming. If you do not do this, you will wind up with awesome, mediocre, and outright garbage priests, which isn't desirable at all. Basically, don't reward/penalize a player of a specialty priest due to the deity they chose for their character to worship.
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    Paladin

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    Wed May 15, 2013 7:26 am  
    Re: Speciality Priests & Deity Spheres

    Cebrion wrote:

    .....even the greatest of mortals can handle only so much divine power. The spells listed in the Spheres define what mortals are capable of handling; whether those spells come from a lesser god or a greater god is irrelevant. Therefore, every god can grant roughly equitable power to mortals, because the question is not one of what the gods are limited to doing, but of what mortals are capable of.

    Have always thought this as well. The PHB is not a list of ALL the KNOWN Spells in existance, just the "common" ones.
    Cebrion wrote:

    Look at it this way. Clerics of all of the gods have the same spell lists and capabilities. The specialty priests, as presented, are all lopsided to hell though. Every single specialty priest should be equitable in power to a basic Cleric. The easiest way to do that is to use the points buy system. ............... If you do not do this, you will wind up with awesome, mediocre, and outright garbage priests, which isn't desirable at all. Basically, don't reward/penalize a player of a specialty priest due to the deity they chose for their character to worship.

    Have thought this as well around Specialty Priests (and wizards for that matter) and is why I have the topic of pretige/ Kits/ Specialties listed elsewhere. They seem collectively to unbalance the game. Have not heard of this point buy is it a variant?
    Adept Greytalker

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    Wed May 15, 2013 9:35 am  
    Re: Speciality Priests & Deity Spheres

    Cebrion wrote:
    Look at it this way. Clerics of all of the gods have the same spell lists and capabilities. The specialty priests, as presented, are all lopsided to hell though. Every single specialty priest should be equitable in power to a basic Cleric. The easiest way to do that is to use the points buy system. The reason why some Spheres have low costs and some high costs is not only due to the number of spells in the Sphere, but also due the power/utility of the spells in that Sphere. When a priest has access to fewer/less useful Spheres, simply because it seems the most suitable thing to do, they need to have other suitable capabilities to make up for that shortcoming. If you do not do this, you will wind up with awesome, mediocre, and outright garbage priests, which isn't desirable at all. Basically, don't reward/penalize a player of a specialty priest due to the deity they chose for their character to worship.


    Personally I don't feel that the players are being provided with 'garbage priests'.

    In my game standard clerics don't get access to any more spheres than spec priests as I limit standard clerics to the same spheres that speciality priests have access to. It's about what that deity is able to grant. Some spheres of magic and influence are just not to do with what that deity has power over.

    I agree that the listed spells only represent what mortals can handle of a gods power but I also don't see a problem with demigods being able to grant their followers fewer spheres. It's a personal choice though - I want demi gods to be less appealing power wise than lesser gods and so on. For me the reason many of the gods are 'greater' is because they have the most popular priesthoods and because I take a 'the more followers a god has and offerings they receive the more power they can gain' approach (there are some exceptions) that fits my approach.

    The faiths of the Lesser gods are lesser because - the deity either is weaker or has a more restricted portolio than say an intermediate god and often therefore attracts a smaller following. Cases where gods have gradually risen in status or power are due to them becoming more popular, receiving more worshippers and thusly more power, sometimes they might be worshipped in a new way contributing to them being able to access a new sphere of magic.

    This is just my approach though - it's not the right one or the wrong one it;s just how I view religion and priests in my game.

    The players had a choice - if they were most interested in power and wanted access to more spheres and higher level spells they would choose greater or intermediate deities, if they chose a lesser deity for example it was because they loved what the deity stood for regardless of the fact other gods could offer more power.

    None of the players playing priests in my party feel disadvantaged or less able than any of the other classes and I've had no evidence to suggest things are unbalanced so I'm happy with the system I come up with I guess. I like that they made those choices as it felt more realistic of the choices a priest might make when devoting himself to a deity.

    Anyways - all that aside I'll still have a look at this point buy system though as I'm interested to see how it is applied / works.
    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Wed May 15, 2013 7:50 pm  

    The system is really very good, and well thought out. Doesn't mean you can't add things to it that aren't there though, just to make something suit a deity' priests better.

    As to proof of imbalance, a player's choice shouldn't be unduly influenced by the overall power that a specialty priest package offers at all, but they are because there is a lack of equality among them, which there shouldn't be. As it is, if one chooses to play a specialty priest of a certain deity, one may end up having a sub-par character simply because the author of that specialty priest package was an imbecile, and didn't make them different and equitable. That a player is even put into a position of having to choose between power and fluff is the problem.

    The point is that there shouldn't be a problem in first place. "Specialty Priest X can't do Y, but he can do Z in recompense" is the formula that they didn't adhere to. Do you think that Specialty Priest of Extra Suck should have to earn the same amount of XP to level up as a Specialty Priest of Super Awesome or basic Cleric does? I would hope not, and yet they are supposed to. If the XP required is the same then the functionality/power level also needs to be the same. If it is not, the player of the Specialty Priest of Suck is being outright cheated, which is not a desirable situation at all.

    This Spheres system is, quite simply, flawed. The challenge is to make things as equitable as possible while working within it. The points system I mentioned does a decent job of quantifying things, which greatly aids in balancing write-ups for specialty priests, which removes the issue of lack of equality as much as possible. Then the player's choice is all about fluff, not power, which is very desirable.
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    Adept Greytalker

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    Thu May 16, 2013 12:31 am  

    Just checked out the skill points system, it looks good, I'll probably have a play around with it later.

    You're saying my way of allocating spheres is flawed but I disagree. I can completely see where you are coming from regarding equality of all the speciality priest abilities. It's something that 3.5 / Pathfinder has definitely managed to do throughout all the classes attempting to balance them out but I haven't seen any evidence that what I've laid out has tipped that balance enough to cause complaint or issue.

    But, as I mentioned, I want the players to have the decision of power or fluff because I feel it mirrors the choices a priest would have to make themselves - do you devote yourself to the god of rock pools because, damn you really love those things, even though he can't grant you as many different spells as the god of weather or do you offer your life to a more powerful god? It would be naive to think priests only choose their deity for the love of what the god stands for but kudos to those who do. What that a god can offer in return for a lifetime of service is a factor for some and explains why the Churches of the greater gods are generally more extensive, expansive and influential.

    Also at the end of the day the differences aren't huge - the difference of 1 major sphere between greater and intermediate wouldn't be enough to sway a player from choosing one deity over another. It's usually the granted powers they look at and those I treat equally.
    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Thu May 16, 2013 3:12 am  

    Sure, but when you take something away, you should give something back. That doesn't necessarily mean adding cleric spells either, but could include adding things like spell-like abilities, special attacks, special defenses, bonus proficiencies, or even adding suitable mage spells (these can scale up by level as well). Basically, don't rely on the Spheres too much to provide the flavor for your specialty priests- they should be the main thing, but are not the only thing.

    Also, if you are going to purposely short-change a specialty priest write-up, give them a -5% or -10 % XP waver as well. When a character gets more, they should pay more. When a character gets less, they should pay less. That is equitable too, and it is perfectly fine to do so.
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    GreySage

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    Thu May 16, 2013 5:00 pm  

    I've never outright chosen one Power over another directly as a result of 'power level' per se', but rather based on the concept I had for the character. I've played many different priests as a DM across the Greater, Intermediate, and Lesser power spectrum. The Demi-Power most often portrayed has been Iuz, and for obvious reasons.

    In playing so many different clerics, I will admit that some Spheres get more attention than others, but I find myself using as many different spells as the situation, and creativity, allow. True...some Spheres seem less useful than others, but perhaps that is due more to the DM or player's lack of resourcefulness and/or familiarity than anything else.

    I think that Cebrion made a good point about 'balance.' Some specialty priests seem to have it better than others; the Bastion of Faith, for instance, really 'beefed up' clerics of the Archpaladin, so much so that other priesthoods seemed to get the proverbial short end of the stick. When the Scarlet Brotherhood guide came out, a few other priesthoods got amplified over others (Pyremius, Wee Jas, Syrul, and Bralm). In response to this, my fellow DM/player and I put our heads together and tried to 'flesh out' the other priesthoods to effectively compete so they weren't outclassed, as it were.

    We charge the same amount of bonus XP needed at +10% for specialty priests while also expecting more from them in terms of religious duties, obligations, upholding their Power's ethos/portfolio (sometimes we allow a specialty priest to 'specialize' in a particular domain or field in this vein), and the like. They are held to a much higher standard in our games, much akin to what a paladin must do beyond a 'mere' fighter. This helps balance out all the 'goodies' they get as a result, and it works for us.

    -Lanthorn
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    Thu May 16, 2013 11:26 pm  

    You make a good point BlueWitch, I tend to find players favour only a small cross-section of the spells available to them. Some are for spells the party almost expects of them (cure light wounds) but each player seems to find their own selection with a couple that get changed depending on circumstance. I think you're right though Lanthorn - it's down to the player though. My priests are realtively new players and are not familiar enough with all the spells to be fully creative yet.

    And yes, the players were definitely deterred from the demi-gods when they learned that they couldn't get access to the higher level spells.

    It's always seeing how a player chooses his deity. My two priest players were both ends of the spectrum. One chose his deity because he loved the fluff aspect of the god the other scanned every god for the one who granted the best powers and abilities.

    The more I think about it the number of spheres granted seems of much less importance than the granted special abilities, the ability to turn undead or not and the highest level of spell cast.

    Should a demi-god or lesser god grant extra abilities to a speciality priest to compensate for not granting them the higher level spells to make it more balanced? Personally, I don't think so.

    When I've re-hashed my speciality priests I've tried to make the granted powers relatively balanced throughout but also tried to remain true to my vision of the deity. I wanted to avoid overly complicated speciality priests as per the Forgotten Realms style or the Oeridian gods write up in Dragon and stay closer to the style of abilities as they are presented in earlier material. The FR style was more like a kit which as not what I was aiming for.
    GreySage

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    Fri May 17, 2013 4:59 pm  

    Lanthorn wrote:
    Information on Atroa was written in a Dragon Magazine...at some time...and I have it...somewhere...but will dig it up and post it, too.
    -Lanthorn


    I'm not sure which number it is, but it is the September 1999 issue, featuring Atroa, Delleb, and Kurell.

    Atroa
    Bringer of Spring, Wind-daughter, Provider, Shy One, First Sister
    Lesser Power of the Beastlands, CG
    Worshiper's alignment: Any good
    Allies: Ehlonna, Phaulkon, Sotillion, Velnius
    Enemies: Telchur
    Symbol: Kara tree full of red, ripe fruit
    Clergy's alignment: any good
    Turn ability: yes

    Specialty priests: Green Sons/Daughters
    Requirements: Con 14
    Alignment: NG
    Weapons: any nonmetal
    Armor: any nonmetal
    Major spheres: All, Animal, Creation, Healing, Plant, Sun, Weather
    Minor spheres: Divination, Time
    Bonus proficiencies: herbalism and either agriculture or healing
    Halflings can become speciality priests
    All Green Sons & Daughters gain +2 vs aging, withering, or rotting attacks; if no save is permitted, they receive one w/out the bonus
    @ 3rd lvl, cast Gust of Wind once per day for every 3 lvls
    @6th lvl, regenerates 1 hp/turn, even if killed (!)
    @12th lvl, cast Regenerate once per day

    Hope this helps, and looking forward to more of your priestly "offerings," Wolfling!

    -Lanthorn
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    Sat May 18, 2013 3:01 am  

    Thanks Lanthorn, looks like I stayed true to the granted abilities from the article with the exception to turn undead. As an aside I loved the artwork for those Oeridian god articles.

    I think that it might be more useful / interesting to include some speciality priests of deities that I'm not sure have had those abilities described.

    Berei (Lesser)
    Home, Family & Agriculture
    AB Std;
    AL NG;
    WP club, flail, mace, sickle, staff, sling, staff-sling;
    AR leather;
    RA robes of natural un-dyed fibres;
    SP All, Combat*, Creation, Elemental (Earth), Guardian*, Healing, Plant, Protection*, Wards*;
    SPL none;
    PW 1) plant growth (increased yield version), 1 mile radius plus 1 mile per four levels (2 mile radius at level 4 etc.) 1/growing season; 3) when defending a home or the priest's shrine / temple saves against priest's spells are at -2; 5) cure disease (may effect plants within the radius enhanced by the priest's seasonal plant growth spell or may target an individual plant creature or parasite) 1/week; 7) sanctuary 10' radius 1/day; 10) repel insects 1/day;
    TU nil.

    Bleredd (Lesser)
    Metal, Mines & Craftsmen (IMC I've expanded Bleredd to be the god of all craftsmen as there are no obvious patron of non metal working crafts)
    AB Str 13, Int 12, Wis 13;
    AL any neutral;
    WP hammer (1st), pick, crossbow or any crafted by the priest himself;
    AR any;
    RA craftsman's apron;
    SP All, Combat*, Creation, Divination*, Elemental (Earth, Fire), Healing*, Protection*, Wards;
    SPL none;
    PW 1) +1 NWP per level to be assigned to any craft skill the priest knows; 4) +1 Str or Con; 7) able to repair magical weapons or armour (check required); 10) able to create magical weapon or armour (up to +1 bonus per 3 levels, maximum +5);
    TU nil.

    I'll also include my take on Boccob who in my opinion was pretty boring as far as a speciality priests went - also if Wee Jas could grant the use of arcane magic to her priests then surely the god of all magic should be able to as well!

    Boccob (Greater)
    Magic, Arcane Knowledge, Foresight & Balance
    AB Int14 or Wis16;
    AL Neutral;
    WP staff, dagger, mace, flail, knife, staff-sling;
    AR none;
    RA purple robes with gold trim;
    SP All, Astral, Charm, Creation, Divination, Elemental (All)*, Guardian*, Numbers, Protection, Summoning, Thought, Time*;
    SPL disc of concordant opposition;
    PW 1) cast all divination spells as if two levels higher, identify (W1) 1/day; 2) may cast wizard spells available to a wizard half their level. These spells are prayed for and take up slots like priest spells. The priest must select two non-opposed schools of magic to select spells from upon reaching this level and cannot change this choice; 7) able to use magical items normally usable only by wizards; 10) gain limited sage ability, has access to the major field of Supernatural & Unusual, with one special category per 4 points of intelligence. Must have access to a library;
    TU nil.
    GreySage

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    Sat May 18, 2013 7:23 am  

    I stumbled into Berei's clerical portfolio rather randomly. She is scantly described in the Slavers module via a cleric serving her in Hardby (page 37). Honestly, I was not terribly impressed what they gave Berei's clergy:

    Major Spheres: All, Animal, Divination, Guardian, Healing, Plant, Protection
    No Minor Spheres noted!

    Nothing else was offered.

    Boccob, of course, is mentioned in From the Ashes, on page 83 of Atlas of the Flanaess book.

    Your write-up is nearly the same with but a few exceptions:

    1) Minor acesss to Creation in FtA
    2) NO Protection Sphere whatsoever in FtA
    3) Minor access to Summoning in FtA

    I like your addition of the Identify spell. What you did with trading priest spells for mage spells for this clergy is MUCH akin to what was done for Wee Jas (though limited only to Enchantment/Charm and Illusion schools).

    -Lanthorn
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    Sat May 18, 2013 7:26 am  

    Here is what I came up with for Berei and Blerred, for comparision and contrast:

    Berei
    (Hearth Mother)
    NG Lesser Goddess of Home, Family, and Agriculture
    SYMBOL: Sheaf of wheat stalks
    WOR. ALIGN: NG
    Requirements: AB Char or Con 13; AL NG; WP as druids (sickle 1st); AR any non-metal; SP All, Animal*, Elemental (Earth/Air*/Fire*/Water*), Guardian*, Healing, Plant, Protection, Sun*, Weather

    Bleredd
    (The Iron Mule)
    N Lesser God of Metal, Mines, and Smiths
    SYMBOL: Iron mule
    WOR. ALIGN: N, LN
    Requirements: AB Str or Con 15, Wis 14; AL N; WP any metal (warhammer 1st); AR any metal; SP All, Combat, Creation*, Divination*, Elemental (Earth, Fire), Guardian, Healing*, Protection*

    -Lanthorn
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    Sat May 18, 2013 8:48 am  

    I thought that not giving Boccob the Protection sphere and denying his clerics spells dispel magic and spell immunity was nonsensical for the god of magic and I axed minor access to Summoning because, well let's face it, with only 2 spells 3rd level of below there's almost no point having it if there isn't major access!
    GreySage

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    Sat May 18, 2013 10:52 am  

    Dispel Magic is now placed under the All Sphere, thereby granting all priests access to it.

    -Lanthorn
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    Sun May 19, 2013 12:24 am  

    When / in what book did it get placed there? I've been working from the Tome of Magic.
    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Sun May 19, 2013 3:19 am  

    See Players Options: Spells & Magic, the same book with the points buy system for Spheres and other things for Specialty Priests. There is a bit of a...realigning of things.
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    Last edited by Cebrion on Mon May 20, 2013 1:46 pm; edited 1 time in total
    GreySage

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    Sun May 19, 2013 7:19 am  

    Wolfling, Spells & Magic is a good resource. Not only are there more spells (mage and priest alike), but it also has a rather expansive list for spell components by cost/availability, crit hit tables for spell effects, and more information about magic item research, along with more... Happy

    You will also notice that some spells have been moved around on the Sphere tables (and mage Schools too), as Cebrion noted.

    It is one of my favorite 2.5 edition tomes, along with Combat & Tactics.

    hope this helps, and I look forward to more discussion,

    Lanthorn
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    Tue May 21, 2013 12:36 am  

    Thanks Lanthorn, that definitely does help - lots to ponder through but it looks exciting!!

    The research and library rules will be interesting as my players are very much into that. 1st ed rulebook has some good info on that kind of thing but it will be useful to get a 2nd edition stance!
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Wed May 22, 2013 11:26 am  

    Ooooo, I love talking about specialty priests. This is arguably one of the best things ever about 2E and why I rolled it back into our 1E campaigns. One of things we did when creating a specialty priest that had access to "all the awesome spheres" or at least the player could make a strong case that their deity had access was to give counterbalance by restrictions of the priesthood.

    These can be really fun to come up with and if you task the player with it, even moreso! Whether it's "can't enter combat on <day of the week>" to "suffers from <phobia>" or "flies into blind rage at the sight of <common item>". etc. You can certainly take the edge off specialty priests with what I like to call a stronger spell set.

    Same can be said for weak or garbage priests, give them other strengths. Maybe they fight was well as a fighter of equal level using a specific weapon, or maybe they can use other magic-like abilities granted by their god (ex. druidic shapechange ability) or maybe they can turned double HD of undead and so on. I'm sure there are some truly terrible combinations of spheres that can be assembled but if a player wishes it, get the player to do it.

    I also like Cebrion's idea. :)
    GreySage

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    Thu May 23, 2013 6:39 pm  

    Elliva, I totally agree with you that one of the BEST things (IMO) that 2e did was fashion Spheres for priests according to their respective Power. If memory serves, didn't Dragonlance spearhead this concept?

    At any rate, I very much like the idea of Spheres, thereby customizing each individual Power. It makes utmost, logical sense that the various Gods (and Goddesses) would vary according to their unique portfolios. The person(s) who thought of this notion should be highly commended.

    always 2e,

    Lanthorn
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    Wed Jun 19, 2013 12:25 pm  

    Wolfling, let's keep the posts rolling. What do you have next for Spheres, etc. on your next Powers?

    anticipating,

    Lanthorn
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    Wed Jun 19, 2013 2:55 pm  

    Sorry Lanthorn - work has taken over my life at the moment so I've not had much time for my rambings on CF!

    Here are a couple more. Although after some of the previous comments I'm planning on having a revision of my work so far using Skills & Powers - I just haven't had the time yet!

    Cyndor (Lesser)
    Time, Infinity & Continuity
    AB Wis 15, Int 11;
    AL LN;
    WP any bludgeoning;
    AR any;
    RA grey robes;
    SP All, Astral, Combat*, Divination, Guardian*, Healing*, Law*, Numbers, Time;
    SPL none;
    PW 1) +2 to saving throws versus spells that affect or inhibit movement or time; 5) haste or slow (W3) 1/day; 7) magic mirror (W4, any mirror of the correct dimensions can be used) 1/week; 9) ages at 50% normal rate; 13) reincarnation (W6) 1/month;
    TU nil.

    Dalt (Lesser)
    Portals, Doors, Locks & Keys
    AB Dex 13, Wis 14;
    AL CG, CN;
    WP club, dagger, dart, knife, short bow, sling, short sword, staff;
    AR leather or elven chain;
    RA black jerkin and fine black gloves;
    SP All, Astral, Divination*, Guardian, Healing*, Necromantic, Protection*, Summoning, Wards*;
    SPL May use any priest spell that involves closing, opening or portals even if from another sphere.
    PW 1) hold portal (W1) 1/day, may pick locks as a thief of the same level; 3) knock or wizard lock (W2) 1/day, 5) rope trick 1/day, 7) dimension door (W4) 1/day; 10) Leomund's secret chest (W5) 1/day; 13) passwall (W5) 1/day;
    TU turn (-4 levels).

    My take on Dalt is a little non-canon. I find him a fascinating deity but just lacking a little something as written. I like the hints in the Maure Castle stuff of portals leading to other worlds and a mystical element. In my version of things Dalt was the previous Suel god of the dead - the Gatekeeper to the Afterlife and as much connected with metaphysical, mysticla & symbolic portals. I made his lover Ranet - who guided the spiits of the dead to Dalt's gate with the fire of her torch. After Ramet's demise Dalt forsook his sibling gods and travelled to distant dimensions and realms in his search for a way to return Ranet to him - his travels leading him back to Oerth and the need to help free Vatun who he believes could hold the answer to his own mission regarding Ranet. After Dalt's departure Wee Jas assumed his portfolio of the Afterlife - so far Dalt has not challenged her but since his return he hasn't turned away any worshippers who appeal to that role of yore of his. Whether there will be conflict between him and Wee Jas remains to be seen.

    So - I've added a little Necromancy and Turn Undead to his abilities to represent that connection.
    GreySage

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    Thu Jun 20, 2013 6:59 am  

    Wolfling, I completely understand. Nonetheless, glad you decided to indulge me and continue.

    Here is what I came up with for Cyndor:

    Cyndor
    (Keeper of Infinity, the Illimitable One)
    LN Lesser God of Time, Infinity, and Continuity
    SYMBOL: Rounded hourglass on its side
    WOR. ALIGN: LN
    Requirements: Int and Wis 13; AL LN; WP any blunt (sling 1st); AR chain or less; SP All, Astral, Divination, Guardian, Healing*, Law, Numbers, Protection*, Thought*, Time

    As for Dalt, he was written up in The Scarlet Brotherhood on page 82 with the following for his clerics:

    WOR ALIGN: CG
    Requirements: Dex 15
    AR: as thief
    WPN: as thief
    SP: All, Astral, Creation*, Divination, Elemental (all)*, Guardian, Healing, Protection*, Summoning, Wards
    PW: 1) hold portal, 3) knock or wizard lock, rope trick; 5) Leomund's tiny hut; 7) dimension door or Leomund's secure shelter; 10) Leomund's secret chest; 13) guards and wards
    TURN: nil

    keep 'em coming, Wolfling!

    -Lanthorn
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    Thu Jul 04, 2013 12:54 am  

    I found the SB write up of Dalt just off the mark. Some of his granted powers seemed a bit obvious but actually not in keeping with his theme. Leomund's Tiny Hit and Secure Shelter - I suppose they open a kind of doorway but there are much less tenuous spells he could grant which is why I switched them to spells like passwall and dimension door - spells that actually open portals.

    Here are a couple more;

    Delleb (Lesser)
    Reason, Intellect & Study
    AB Wis 14, Int 14;
    AL LG;
    WP dart (1st), any bludgeoning;
    AR any;
    RA black robes;
    SP All, Combat*, Divination, Guardian*, Law, Numbers*, Protection, Thought, Wards*;
    SPL none;
    PW 1) +4 save versus the effects of magical writings, runes or glyphs. If a save is not normally allowed the priest may still make a saving throw without the modifier; 3) identify (W1) 1/day; 7) gain limited sage ability, has access to one major field, with one special category per 4 points of intelligence. Must have access to a library; 10) legend lore (W6) 1/week;
    TU turn -4 levels.

    The Earth Dragon (Demi)
    Earth & Hidden Treasures
    AB Str 12;
    AL LE, LN, NE;
    WP club, dagger, mace, military pick, sling, staff, warhammer;
    AR any (scale preferred);
    RA brown robes embroidered with gold, dragon-skull helms at level 9+;
    SP All, Combat*, Divination, Elemental (Earth), Guardian*, Wards;
    SPL none;
    PW 1) light 1/day; 5) +3 damage in combat when wielding a military pick; 7) spells are treated as 1 level higher when priest is in contact with the earth and within the Drachensgrabs; 13) earthquake 1/week;
    TU nil.
    GreySage

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    Thu Jul 04, 2013 11:43 am  

    Wolfling, I am currently on vacation and out of town, away from my references...when I get home, I know there was a write-up for Delleb in a Dragon Magazine I've got, and in The Slavers there's one for the Earth Dragon, too.

    until then,

    Lanthorn
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    Thu Jul 04, 2013 12:13 pm  

    Thanks Lanthorn, there were indeed write ups for both of those deities. I have all those references books and used them when finalising my own versions (some are pretty much as written in the source material).

    Enjoy your holiday!!
    GreySage

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    Thu Jul 18, 2013 7:20 am  

    For comparison, here are Delleb and the Earth Dragon:

    Delleb: The God Scholar, Sage of the Gods, The Good Savant
    Lesser Power of Mt Celestia, LG
    Symbol: Open Book
    Worshipper's Alignment: LG
    Clergy's Alignment: LG
    Turn Undead: Yes

    Specialty Priests: Tomesages
    Requirements: Wis 15, Int 16
    Alignment: LG
    Weapons: Any
    Armor: Any
    Major Spheres: All, Combat (I find this odd), Divination, Healing, Law, Numbers, Thought, Time
    Minor: War (equally peculiar to me)
    Required Profs: Modern Languages, Reading/Writing
    Bonus Profs: Ancient History, Local History, Religion
    - All Tomesages can specialize in 1 nonwpn prof; checks are considered at 19 rating regardless of actual score
    - All Tomesages gain the same bonus as Academicians (mage kit) with respect to Int and Wis proficiency checks
    - Can cast Zone of Truth once per day
    - At 6th lvl, cast Confusion once per day
    - At 10th lvl, cast True Seeing once per day
    - At 15th lvl, cast Divine Inspiration once per day

    The Earth Dragon: Wyrm of the Hills, Earth Lord, Serpent of Stone
    DemiGod of Oerth, LE
    Symbol: Coiled Dragon
    Worshipper's Alignment: Any nongood
    Clergy's Alignment: any nongood
    Turn/Command Undead: No

    Specialty Priests
    Requirements: Str 12, Wis 9
    Weapons: Club, dagger, mace, pick, sling, staff, warhammer
    Armor: Scale mail preferred, but any allowed
    Major Spheres: All, Combat, Elemental (Earth), Healing, Protection, Weather
    Minor Spheres: Divination, Guardian, Travelers, Wards
    Required Profs: Reading/Writing, Religion
    Bonus Profs: Local history (Drachensgrab Hills), Mountaineering
    -At 1st lvl, receive one bonus spell each day; must be Light or Magical Stone
    - At 3rd lvl, become as resilient as stone, receiving +2 hp and +1 save vs. Petrification or physical damage
    - At 5th lvl, +3 damage with pick and learn Unleash the Dragon's Wrath
    - At 7th lvl, priest can cast spells at +1 lvl if in direct contact with the earth
    - At 9th lvl, priest must slay a good dragon to fashion an Earth Dragon Helm from its skull (new magic item)
    - At 10th lvl, earns 1 extra attack with pick every other round
    - At 13th lvl, priest cannot be moved or knocked down if in contact with the earth (magical or mundane); also receives Earthquake spell
    -At 15th lvl, receive a free spell from Elemental Earth sphere (any lvl, including up to 7th)

    Tag, yer it, Wolfie! Cool

    -Lanthorn
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    Thu Jul 18, 2013 8:22 am  

    Might I suggest that Delleb's Combat and War spheres are inspired by artists and scholars like Leonardo Da Vinci, who made war and combat serious parts of their scholarly agenda?

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    GreySage

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    Sun Oct 06, 2013 7:39 am  

    Wolfling, hoping you still plan to add to this thread! I enjoy our joint efforts on this task...

    Should anyone else desire to add their perspectives, please feel free.

    -Lanthorn
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    Wed Dec 11, 2013 9:16 am  

    Agree with Lanthorn on this,,, Domains need a revist! I was enjoying the review. Smile
    Have often felt the whole of domains was dropped compared to schools for the arcane side.... My players are looking forward to seeing where this goes.
    GreySage

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    Wed Dec 11, 2013 4:55 pm  

    DLG, well met once more! Yeah, our friend and colleague, Wolfling, has been uncharacteristically absent as of late. Wonder if he got trapped, poor lupine. Shocked

    DLG, do you have any specific wonderings on behalf of yourself or your players?

    If we don't hear from Wolfling any time soon, I will pick up the proverbial torch on this thread and add to it.

    -Lanthorn, Missing the Wolf
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    Wed Dec 11, 2013 7:29 pm  

    Actually my group began discussing due to the limited nature of Fharlanghn, the Dweller on the Horizon, is the Oeridian god of Horizons, Distance, Travel, and Roads.
    LUCK DOMAIN
    PROTECTION DOMAIN
    TRAVEL DOMAIN
    Note this is a 3.xxx assessment
    I get the Travel Domain, and maybe the protection but I think luck is a reach. supplement books assign the Sky I think (can partly see that due to his brother)
    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Wed Dec 11, 2013 11:42 pm  

    To travel wherever, whenever, one needs a bit of luck. It is not like worshipers of Fharlanghn go the the temple to consult their personal priest-travel agent or anything. Laughing But, yes, it is still a bit of a stretch, but more suitable than Sky if I had to pick only three.

    One thing I didn't mention in this thread before, and I really should have as it colors my view of the Sphere system greatly, was that when the first listing of Greyhawk deity spheres came out for 2E, I made lists of every spell each of their priests had access to. I have long since filed those pages away in a crate somewhere (and they are no doubt being examined by "top men"), but they illustrated the glaring deficiencies in the Spheres system. While compiling those spell lists proved to be very useful to our game group, it was a bit disheartening to realize that some faiths just plain got screwed over, as the authors let the Sphere system rule over everything without perhaps realizing what they were doing (i.e. they never made these lists themselves), otherwise they would have realized that there was a mad discrepancy in spell availability, usefulness/utility, and even spell level (i.e. spell power).

    This lead to odd things like Priests of Celestian finally hitting 7th level, and realizing that the only spells they had access to were cure serious wounds, neutralize poison, and meteors, while priests of almost every less powerful deity had access to two to three times as many 4th levle spells. The Added Spells section was meant to tweak this when needed, but the ball was dropped there all too often as well. No protection from lightning spell access for priests of a deity that travels to ALL of the Planes, and whose priests like to emulate him by doing likewise? Really? Couldn't put in that perfectly suitable fourth 4th level spell in there for them? I updated those lists when Tome of Magic came out, and that book did serve to at least flesh some things out a bit more, but it wasn't "the fix".

    Player's Options: Spells & Magic addresses things better still, but it isn't completely "the fix" either, but everything it presents comes about as close as one will get. To that book I would only add one thing, that being all three volumes of The Priest's Spell Compendium. They collect nearly every priest spell from 2E in one place, with some nice subtext telling you where each spell came from. Some of the spells have even been edited! Shocked Laughing Combining those will yield better results with regard to spell access. But...each faith will still need to be examined, and their Added Spells sections will need to be added to in order to get "the fix". These two sources are exceptionally useful if one is thinking about re-aligning the Specialty Priest Spheres.

    Also, I didn't particularly limit a priest's Spheres based on the divine rank of their deity. I left that out of the game in the interest of character balance, and so the divine rank bit was rendered an inconsequential "But my god can beat up your god." sort of thing. Wink
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    Last edited by Cebrion on Fri Nov 28, 2014 2:35 pm; edited 1 time in total
    Paladin

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    Thu Dec 12, 2013 7:35 am  

    Cebrion wrote:
    To travel wherever, whenever, one needs a bit of luck. It is not like worshipers of Fharlanghn go the the temple to consult their personal priest-travel agent or anything. Laughing But, yes, it is still a bit of a stretch, but more suitable than Sky if I had to pick only three.

    I only mentioned "sky" because it was published elsewhere (ie complete divine?) And would guess thier rationale was because of who his brother is. Confused

    Cebrion wrote:

    One thing I didn't mention in this thread before, and I really should have as it colors my view of the Sphere system greatly, was that when the first listing of Greyhawk deity spheres came out for 2E, I made lists of every spell each of their priests had access to.

    That exact task is what my group was inquiring about.

    Cebrion wrote:

    I have long since filed those pages away in a crate somewhere (and they are no doubt being examined by "top men"), but they illustrated the glaring deficiencies in the Spheres system. While compiling those spell lists proved to be very useful to our game group, it was a bit disheartening to realize that some faiths just plain got screwed over, as the authors let the Sphere system rule over everything without perhaps realizing what they were doing (i.e. they never made these lists themselves), otherwise they would have realized that there was a mad discrepancy in spell availability, usefulness/utility, and even spell level (i.e. spell power).
    This lead to odd things like Priests of Celestian finally hitting 7th level, and realizing that the only spells they had access to were cure serious wounds, neutralize poison, and meteors, while priests of almost every less powerful deity had access to two to three times as many 4th levle spells. The Added Spells section was meant to tweak this when needed, but the ball was dropped there all too often as well. No protection from lightning spell access for priests of a deity that travels to ALL of the Planes, and whose priests like to emulate him by doing likewise? Really? Couldn't put in that perfectly suitable fourth 4th level spell in there for them? I updated those lists when Tome of Magic came out, and that book did serve to at least flesh some things out a bit more, but it wasn't "the fix".

    Yep.... BUT IMO it can make sense that some magic may be the realm of only certain gods, but I agree the disparage of spell distrebution by sphere (domain for the 3.xx) is not equal. If, lets say, one spell were unavailable to a priest, it would be countered with one that is available to only that belief. Seems I recall MS or Argon use this approach with Ressurection (read somewhere). I think this could lend to some interesting role play with PCs seeking out particular magics in dire circumstance. Futher it would certainly be another thing to concider during character generation.

    Cebrion wrote:

    Player's Options: Spells & Magic addresses things better still, but it isn't completely "the fix" either, but everything it presents comes about as close as one will get. To that book I would only add one thing, that being all three volumes of The Priest's Spell Compendium. They collect nearly every priest spell from 2E in one place, with some nice subtext telling you where each spell came from. Some of the spells have even been edited! Shocked Laughing Combining those will yield better results with regard to spell access. But...each faith will still need to be examined, and their Added Spells sections will need to be added to in order to get "the fix". These two sources are exceptionally useful if one is thinking about re-aligning the Specialty Priest Spheres.

    Forgot they had made the priest version of those..... Have the Arcane set of 4, Amazon here I come!!! Laughing

    Cebrion wrote:

    Also, I didn't particularly limit a priest's Spheres based on the divine rank of their deity. I left that out of the game in the interest of character balance, and so the divine rank bit was rendered an inconsequential "But my god can beat up your god." sort of thing. Wink

    I get the rationale for your choice, BUT is that not what makes one god greater than another? Thier ability to provide their followers with greater magics? From a DM perspective I can see not wanting to "track" god "level progression" Laughing Laughing but would certainly mimic the rise and fall of "heavenly power" and more fully explain the motivations of the gods and the need for worshipers and faithful.

    In General, Well Put Big C and describes the consensus of myself and my players as well... would certainly support a collective to re-visit & update to bring it more balance and in line with the "schooling structure" of the Arcane. (Not that it is perfect , but is more defined and polished than Divine)
    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Fri Dec 13, 2013 5:10 am  

    Dark_Lord_Galen wrote:
    I get the rationale for your choice, BUT is that not what makes one god greater than another? Their ability to provide their followers with greater magics?

    No. The number of followers, and their influence in the mortal realm, is what makes one religion greater than another. The actual power of the gods themselves is irrelevant. The power of a priest is not inherently tied to the power of their deity, because, in the rules, Clerics of all deities are all equal in power. The only thing that differs among them is alignment, which limits some of their spell usage, and determines whether they turn or command undead. That's it. Any real disparity is so minor that it is inconsequential, and so they are balanced.

    The perceived power of deities has everything to do with the influence of their church in the mortal realm (which is mainly tied to the number, position, and/or influence of its worshipers), not anything related to setting up a "My priest can cast 7th level spells, and yours can't! Ha ha!" or similar situation. Two good cases would be Heironeous and Iuz. There are plenty of greater gods who could annihilate them, but look at their followers. How powerful these beings are on their own is a non-issue. Okay, maybe the Monty Haulers who have turned the deity list into their own personal "kill list", and who are using their 287th level characters to hunt down and kill all of the gods, might think it an issue that needs to be be poured over. Laughing These two deities are not among the most powerful in and of themselves, but their power and influence in the mortal realm is beyond obvious. That is what makes them powerful, and you don't need rules to force the situation. No divine hierarchy needs to be enforced in the mortal realm in the form of overly wrecking one class; especially as it results in the breakdown of one of the core classes and not any of the others.

    In the core rules, the whole question of deity power really is only a "But my god can beat up your god" type of thing. This is of course by design, and that design is to maintain internal as well as external class balance. At their core, Specialty Priests should embody this balance as well, meaning that none of them should be inherently weaker/more powerful than another, and none of them should be weaker/more powerful than any of the other classes. One who is designing something that is an integral part of the core game ought to have game balance at the forefront of their mind, always. If they do not, they are not adding to the core game, but are detracting from it.

    Let me illustrate the "divine rank equivocates to Specialty Priest power" idea in another way, using the Thief class as the victim. So, how could I make the Thief class similar to having disparate power levels among the Specialty Priests due to the divine rank of their respective gods? I could make it depend on where the Thief is from. A Country Thief will surely not be as skilled as a City of Greyhawk Thief, and a thief from somewhere else will surely be better than the former, but not as good as the latter, right? Of course they would! And so it comes down to this:

    The Country Thief, being a Lesser thief, only gets 20 discretionary points at first level to spend on thief skills, and only gains 10 discretionary points per level thereafter. Yeah, the player might have just wanted to role-play a Country Thief, but I am going to shove some inequitable rule-play down their throats too. Will I give the character any other benefits to counter the penalties I have forced upon them, or require the character to gain fewer experience points due to them acquiring fewer benefits upon leveling up? Nope! Hey, it was their choice to role-play a Country Thief after all...

    Then we have the City of Dyvers Thief, and we all know that they are really just City of Greyhawk Thief wannabess. Laughing Accordingly, these Intermediate thieves only get 40 discretionary points at first level to spend on thief skills, and only gain 20 discretionary points per level thereafter. And, no, they don't get anything else either. Suck it Dyvers Thieves' Guild! Laughing

    Which brings us to the City of Greyhawk Thief. This Greater thief of course gets the full 60 discretionary points at first level to spend on thief skills, and gains the full 30 discretionary points per level thereafter, because a City of Greyhawk Thief has access to all of the best possible thieving experiences and guild training to boot!

    There's some Specialty Thieves for you, with a built-in background hierarchy to "enhance" the class. And will I be giving any of them variant abilities which equitably make up for the shortcomings, or give a cut in XP needed to level-up instead? Heck no! You chose to play this kind of character, so suck it up, Nancy! Might as well do the same for all of the classes, eh? Wink Well, obviously I don't think any of this, and that notable disparity in things that are meant to have none should be avoided at all costs.

    Basically, when creating something, don't purposely set out to hamstring a player simply because of what they want to play- accommodate them equitably; treat them fairly. And so, write up Specialty Priests that don't screw with the class balance of the game, but ones that treat with it fairly. It will take a bit more work to do it well, but the end result will be so much better. Cool

    Last of all, you guys should really consider breaking up the deity discussion into separate threads for each deity, such as "Specialty Priests of St. Cuthbert Discussion", etc. As the deity name will then be featured in the thread titles, you might get more interest, as not everyone is interested in ALL of the deities, but are definitely interested in particular ones. Seeing those topical names might have people popping in more.
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    GreySage

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    Sun Dec 22, 2013 10:23 am  

    Cebrion wrote:
    No. The number of followers, and their influence in the mortal realm, is what makes one religion greater than another. The actual power of the gods themselves is irrelevant. The power of a priest is not inherently tied to the power of their deity, because, in the rules, Clerics of all deities are all equal in power. The only thing that differs among them is alignment, which limits some of their spell usage, and determines whether they turn or command undead. That's it. Any real disparity is so minor that it is inconsequential, and so they are balanced.


    I thought the power DOES matter in that only Greater and Intermediate Powers can bestow upon their clerics 7th level spells, Lesser Powers can grant up to 6th level spells, Demigods only 5th level (unless they claim the Prime Material as a home domain, such as Wastri and Iuz, in which case 6th level is possible), and Quasi or Hero deities only 4th...

    As far as balance goes, I totally agree with you, Cebrion. I've been frustrated by the apparent discrepancy among the spells, spheres, weapons, armor, and special abilities granted among the various priesthoods. With the arrival of the 2.5 supplementary "Options" rules, a player had to buy all of those skills, etc. Outside of that, however, there is no real balance inherent in the system. Some clerics get hosed whereas others seem to have it all.

    For instance, I have long thought that clerics of Heironeous are among the latter category. They get the best armor and weapon choices, can turn undead (if only a bit limited), and have an awesome range of spell spheres. In contrast look at poor priests of Fharlanghn. They are limited in armor, weapons, cannot turn undead, and have a far more narrow range of spheres.

    I guess that's where the DM comes into play to establish certain balancing internal guidelines via role-play, religious/political responsibilities and duties, etc.

    -Lanthorn


    -Lanthorn
    Black Hand of Oblivion

    Joined: Feb 16, 2003
    Posts: 3806
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    Sun Dec 22, 2013 5:42 pm  

    Lanthorn wrote:
    I thought the power DOES matter in that only Greater and Intermediate Powers can bestow upon their clerics 7th level spells, Lesser Powers can grant up to 6th level spells, Demigods only 5th level (unless they claim the Prime Material as a home domain, such as Wastri and Iuz, in which case 6th level is possible), and Quasi or Hero deities only 4th...

    You are correct. For some "brilliant" reason, various Greyhawk authors got it into their heads that limiting spell level access according to divine rank (this was not the case when Spheres first appeared in Greyhawk Adventures; some genius(es) added it later) would make Greyhawk "just that much more full of awesome character", without apparently giving much thought to what the end result would be. As previously stated, the end result is a mess, and we all know that; this sort of discussion would not exist if it were not. Having access to higher level spells does not necessarily mean that a priest can do more things, more powerful things, or even more very useful things in a game where each character being as close to equitably useful is kind of important. Wink As you note, it seems very obvious that certain favorite deities got loaded down with goodies, while less popular ones got shafted.

    On a positive note, I just found my folder full of Specialty Priest papers. They are all neatly (for me Happy) hand-written with mechanical pencil on lined paper, in a format of Specialty Priest information on the front, and their entire list of spells on the back, by level . Some are incomplete because I never finished the project (partially due to a lack of playing at the time, and partially due to being dejected at how messed up things were, and how many deities there were to still work on). I'll post up Celestian for you guys (not my adjusted version, but what the original version allowed for), but not right now as I am on my way to run my Pathhawk/Greyhfinder campaign.
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    Last edited by Cebrion on Mon Dec 23, 2013 6:54 am; edited 1 time in total
    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Mon Dec 23, 2013 6:08 am  

    Here we go then:

    Clerics of Celestian

    Spheres for priests of Celestian first showed up in Greyhawk Adventures. One thing of note that becomes quickly obvious is that somebody did NOT proofread the list of added spells, as three of them are already covered by the listed spheres (i.e. the first clue that not all is likely well in sphere land).

    Spells by Level (According to Greyhawk Adventures and AD&D 2E Players Handbook)

    1st- bless, combine, create water, cure light wounds, detect evil, endure cold/heat, invisibility to undead, light.
    2nd- aid, resist cold/resist fire, silence 15’ radius, slow poison, wyvern watch.
    3rd- animate dead, continual light, create food & water, cure blindness or deafness, cure disease, feign death, flame walk, glyph of warding, negative plane protection, starshine.
    4th- cure serious wound, meteors, neutralize poison.
    5th- atonement, cure critical wounds, moonbeam, plane shift, quest, rainbow.
    6th- animate object, blade barrier, heal, heroes’ feast, wall of thorns.
    7th- astral spell, changestaff, chariot of Sustarre, sunray, wind walk.

    Wow. Impressive; especially that 4th level spell selection. Laughing Things became ever so slightly better with Tome of Magic added in:

    Spells by Level (According to Greyhawk Adventures and AD&D 2E Tome of Magic)

    1st- bless, combine, create water, cure light wounds, detect evil, endure cold/heat, invisibility to undead, light, sacred guardian, speak with astral traveler.
    2nd- aid, create holy symbol, resist cold/resist fire, silence 15’ radius, slow poison, wyvern watch.
    3rd- animate dead, astral window, continual light, create food & water, cure blindness or deafness, cure disease, feign death, flame walk, glyph of warding, negative plane protection, starshine.
    4th- addition, blessed warmth, cure serious wound, focus, fortify, join with astral traveler, meteors, neutralize poison.
    5th- atonement, blessed abundance, cure critical wounds, moonbeam, plane shift, quest, rainbow, uplift.
    6th- animate object, blade barrier, heal, heroes’ feast, sol's searing orb, the great circle/the black circle, wall of thorns.
    7th- astral spell, changestaff, chariot of Sustarre, sunray, wind walk.

    Yep, that really helped a lot. Shed a tear for “The Far Wanderer”, Intermediate God of Stars, Space, Wanderers, and “Meh”. Laughing

    The spheres were tweaked a bit in From the Ashes- added spells were dropped but for meteors, Healing was downgraded to minor access, and Travelers (major) and Thought (minor) were added. The special spell abilities were rolled into the basic spell list (priest level required to access them is listed in parentheses after those spells) rather than granted as extra abilities, but the +10 AEX penalty was also dropped. Oh, and priests of Celestian can still cast animate dead, but can no longer turn undead. Gotta love that. Laughing

    Spells by Level (Using From the Ashes and AD&D 2E Tome of Magic)

    1st- bless/curse, combine, cure disease/cause disease, cure light wounds/cause light wounds, detect evil/good, emotion read, faerie fire, feather fall (1st), invisibility to undead, jump (3rd), know direction, light/darkness, purify food & drink/putrefy food & drink, sacred guardian, spider climb (7th), thought capture.
    2nd- aid, aura of comfort, create holy symbol, idea, levitate (5th), lighten load, mind read, obscurement, sanctify/defile, silence 15’ radius, slow poison, wyvern watch.
    3rd- animate dead, call lightning, continual light/continual darkness, create campsite/break campsite, create food & water, cure blindness or deafness/cause blindness or deafness, emotion control, feign death, fly (9th), glyph of warding, helping hand, know customs, memory read, negative plane protection, starshine, telepathy.
    4th- addition, blessed warmth, circle of privacy, dimension door (11th), focus, meteors of celestian, tree steed, uplift.
    5th- atonement, blessed abundance, clear path/clutter path, easy march, moonbeam, rainbow.
    6th- animate object, blade barrier, heroes’ feast, monster mount, sol’s searing orb, the great circle/the black circle, wall of thorns.
    7th- chariot of Sustarre, hovering road, sunray, teleport without error (16th).

    There are more spells to choose from, but many are of limited application/questionable usefulness, and so playing a priest of Celestian back then sucked pretty bad (yes, I speak from experience). That takes us to the Player’s Options: Spells & magic iteration, which changes things just a bit more.

    Spells by Level (Using From the Ashes and AD&D 2E Player’s Options: Spells & Magic)

    1st- astral celerity, bless/curse, blessed watchfulness, combine, cure light wounds/cause light wounds, detect magic, light/darkness, dispel fatigue, emotion read, faerie fire, invisibility to undead, obscurement, orison, purify food & drink/putrefy food & drink, feather fall (1st), jump (3rd), know direction, sacred guardian, speak with astral traveler, spider climb (7th), sunscorch, thought capture.
    2nd- aid, astral awareness, aura of comfort, chant, create holy symbol, cure moderate wounds/cause moderate wounds, ethereal barrier, idea, iron vigil, levitate (5th), lighten load, mind read, mystic transfer, restore strength, sanctify/defile, silence 15’ radius, slow poison, wyvern watch.
    3rd- animate dead, astral window, call lightning, continual light/continual darkness, create campsite, create food & water, cure blindness or deafness/cause blindness or deafness, cure disease/cause disease, dispel magic, emotion control, etherealness, feign death, fly (9th), glyph of warding, helping hand, hold poison, know customs, memory read, negative plane protection, remove curse/bestow curse, remove paralysis, repair injury, speak with dead, starshine, telepathy, weather prediction.
    4th- blessed abundance, blessed warmth, circle of privacy, dimension door (11th), focus, join with astral traveler, meteors of celestian, tongues, tree steed, uplift.
    5th- atonement, clear path, commune, easy march, meld, moonbeam, plane shift, quest, rainbow.
    6th- blade barrier, heroes’ feast, monster mount, sol’s searing orb, speak with monsters.
    7th- astral spell, gate, hovering road, sunray, teleport without error (16th), the great circle/the black circle.

    And there you have it.
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    Last edited by Cebrion on Mon Dec 30, 2013 2:56 am; edited 2 times in total
    GreySage

    Joined: Oct 06, 2008
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    Thu Dec 26, 2013 1:53 pm  

    I've always limited the Spell availability based upon the "Power's" level.

    In our own world mythology -- and by our own definition -- Heracles (Hercules) was a demi-god, but he couldn't raise the dead. (And I don't think fighting with Thanatos to bring back a dead person is quite the same thing, Laughing )

    The Norse Gods also -- supposedly -- couldn't bring back the dead . . . though I see an incongruity there.

    So, for me, it's the same in the game; a Demi-god, or Lesser power isn't going to be able to grant "True Resurrection" and other such spells.

    But that's just the way I play it. Wink
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    GreySage

    Joined: Sep 09, 2009
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    Sun Dec 29, 2013 9:11 am  

    You'd think a Power who travels the various Planes of existence, most of which are very dangerous, would grant Protection Sphere (at least minor!) to his clerics!!! What good is Plane Shifting to another realm if you are dead instantly upon arriving??? Shocked

    shaking his head,

    Lanthorn

    p.s. I've also had a difficult time resolving the Thought/Divination Spheres; I'd think if a priesthood had one of them, they'd have the other as well (at least minor) since both convey information and are closely associated. Maybe a topic for another thread, though...
    Master Greytalker

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    Fri Jan 17, 2014 11:18 am  

    Since Al'Akbar is discussed; as you may or may not know, I am compiling gazetteers for the Beyond the Flanaess Project. One region is the Gulf of Ghayar and the Corsair Isles of the Dramidj Sea. As offshoots of the baklunish basin, its pantheon is prominent. As such; I have created the the information below to illuminate the situation.

    Of course, the best known schism resides within the faith of Al'Akbar. The core of the spiritual dispute is a result of the theft of a pair of sacred relics, the Cup and Talisman of Al'Akbar. Their recovery remains the avowed aspiration of the religious as well as the temporal authorities within the baklunish basin.

    Sects of Al’Akbar
    Exalted Mosque of Al'Akbar
    Theological Interpretation: Exalted Faith: LG (NG)
    Influence: Caliphate of Ekbir, Sultanate of Zeif, Protectorate of the Verdured Heights (Mur) and Southern Tusmit
    Oversight Order: Abd-Al-Din (Servant of the Faith)
    Member: The Faithful
    Heraldry: Eight-Pointed Star of Al'Akbar

    Its teachings emphasize social decorum and personal dignity to encourage a righteous society. Dominant within Ekbir, Zeif, Mur and southern Tusmit. The Abd-Al-Din oversees the Elder Spahi, Paladins and Qadi, Priests. Known for their ceaseless efforts to ease tribal tensions. Thus, this interpretation has achieved some success amongst the southern hillmen.
    The faithful believe the recovery of the Cup and Talisman, will encourage the spiritual reconciliation needed to form a universal caliphate.

    True Mosque of Al'Akbar
    Theological Interpretation: True Faith: LN
    Influence: Ket and Northern Tusmit
    Oversight Order: Abd-Al-Abbas (Servant of the Austere)
    Member: The Obedient
    Heraldry: Cup and Talisman of Al'Akbar

    Its sermons emphasize the strict discipline and doctrinal purity required to maintain a moral society. Dominant within Ket and northern Tusmit. The Abd-Al-Abbas oversees the Elder Somb, Paladins and Mullahs, Priests. Known for its promotion of traditionalist values. Converts seek to enhance their position within southern Tusmit and Thornward.
    The obedient believe the recovery of the Cup and Talisman, will grant them the prestige to supplant the Exalted Faith.

    Faith of Al'Akbar
    Theological Interpretation: Chosen Faith: LG (CG)
    Influence: Plains of the Paynims and Sharifate of Risay
    Oversight Order: Abd-Al-Mukhtar (Servant of the Chosen)
    Member: The Dutiful
    Heraldry: None

    Adherents consider themselves the guardian of the unsullied tenets of Al’Akbar. Awaiting the eventual rise of the blessed Mahdi; the true son of Al’Akbar. Dominant on the Plains of the Paynims and the risian coastal cities. The Abd-Al-Mukhtar oversees the Dervishes, Paladins and Imams, Priests.
    The dutiful believe both the Exalted Faith and True Faith are misguided corruptions. Of course, the recovery of the Cup and Talisman, could unite the paynim tribes.

    Curious; as to any thoughts?

    PS: Contact Me For Drop Box Admission; Recently, completed the Gulf Gazetteer and I am currently editing the Celestial Imperium.
    GreySage

    Joined: Sep 09, 2009
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    Fri Jan 17, 2014 7:28 pm  

    Maybe it's just me, but I've always considered Al Ak'bar the Baklunish equivalent of St. Cuthbert (with a dose of Pholtus' puritanical doctrine added in for measure)...

    -Lanthorn
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Sep 20, 2004
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    Sun Feb 09, 2014 8:51 am  

    Sorry for the absence! ANyways, to get straight back into it I'll include what I'd come up with for Fharlanghn and Al'Akbar ...

    Al'Akbar (Demi)
    Guardianship, Faithfulness, Dignity & Duty
    AB Std;
    AL LG, LN;
    WP falchion, scimitar, dagger, knife, spear, mace;
    AR any up to scale;
    RA white robes (True Faith), white or tan robes trimmed with gold or purple (Exalted Faith), men wear turbans, women a simple white-gold circlet;
    SP All, Combat*, Divination, Guardian, Healing*, Law, Protection*, Sun*;
    SPL none;
    PW 1) receive Ancient Baklunish as a bonus proficiency; 3) know alignment 1/day; 5) create food & water 1/day; 7) divination (no materials needed) 1/week; 10) atonement 1/day;
    TU turn -3 levels.

    Fharlanghn (Intermediate)
    Horizons, Distance, Travel & Roads
    AB Wis 9;
    AL NG, N;
    WP any non-edged weapon (staff 1st);
    AR non-metal;
    RA brown or green robes;
    SP All, Combat*, Creation*, Divination*, Elemental (air, earth), Healing, Protection, Time*, Travellers, Weather*;
    SPL footsore;
    PW 1) all MV rates increased by 25%, 35% chance to avoid getting lost, increases by 1% for each level gained; 3) all ability checks made for jogging / running made with +3 bonus; 5) dimension door (W4) 1/day; 9) wind walk 1/day; 13) find the path 1/week;
    TU Nil

    I came to the same conclusion as most of you that the god of travel should grant the Protection sphere to his followers or some of their journeys may end up being a little shorter than planned!
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Feb 12, 2014
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    Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:47 pm  

    Cebrion wrote:
    You are correct. For some "brilliant" reason, various Greyhawk authors got it into their heads that limiting spell level access according to divine rank (this was not the case when Spheres first appeared in Greyhawk Adventures; some genius(es) added it later) would make Greyhawk "just that much more full of awesome character", without apparently giving much thought to what the end result would be.


    Actually, limiting spell level access by divine power came earlier, in Deities & Demigods/Legends & Lore. That book is where divine ranks first appeared in the official rules, and since Greyhawk Adventures uses the same concept (and was written by a coauthor of D&D/L&L), it would really surprise me if they didn't intend for it to apply.

    Jeff
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    Thu Feb 13, 2014 3:37 am  

    I'm sure we've had this debate before but personally I don't have a problem with limiting spell level access based on divine rank. I find it adds a certain level of dynamism to the theology also I adopt the view that the power of a deity is usually proportionate to the number of worshippers. Which is why the gods tend to need them and why the care about otherwise irrelevant mortals.

    I'm pretty sure the various sourcebooks describe lesser deities for example as being concerned with more specific or specialised portfolios and / or being less widely worshipped.

    As for fairness of play - I always make it clear to my players about the level limit and that if that's a problem they should stick to greater deities. It's rarely a deterrent and I like that the players often pick a less powerful deity because there is something specific about the god that appeals to them. It mirrors a certain level of reality in my mind. Sure you could worship Pelor god of the sun but actually Sotillion the goddess of summer calls to you more deeply despite the fact she is not as powerful. It's a spiritual calling. Power players / characters will pick greater gods which is fine.

    As a side note - I would never rule out players of less powerful deities undertaking quests or pursuing options to gain more powerful spells but it shouldn't be easy and worthy of an adventure.

    That's just my view though - I can see the arguments for and against and think both sides have some merits.
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