Wednesday, March 23, 2011

New Poll: Clerics, Deities, and Losing Spells

The past couple posts, discussing the "policing" of clerical practices in the game, got me thinking how many DM's actually do that - monitor the behavior of the cleric, and if it doesn't adhere to the deity's tenets, they get a stern "talking to" by agents of the deity, and can even lose their high level spells.   Check out the new poll, let me know you how do it.

In the DMG on page 42, when discussing the Atonement spell, Gary suggests USING ALL CAPS IN A BOOMING VOICE TO CHASTISE A BAD CLERIC!!!  That makes me chuckle - it can be interpreted as autocratic, or totally campy.


  1. Typically, I've given sort of "out of world" (i.e. DM to player) warnings, and I don't think I've ever had to go farther than that. The few player's I've had play clerics tend to choose deities whose ethos fits with how they want to play.

  2. I have a cleric in the game who's a pretty funny character - he made a deal with a witch (a sworn enemy of his church) and the group's current quest is to retrieve a powerful artifact for her so she can go crush some elves.

    It's been interesting working through the DMG recommendations on managing clerics so I could get a sense on when the church would step in and say, "Dude, what were you thinking?"

  3. I had an interesting experience where a PC cleric animated some zombies to use as fodder troops. I mentioned in passing that this was a bit questionable for his religion. Then, all through the session, bad things kept happening to the cleric, usually due to the player's poor rolls. I kept pointing out that his god was angry for his transgression, and by the time he got possessed hby an evil spirit, he was convinced and has not tried it since.

    The dice never lie!

  4. I tend to discuss the deity of choice's code of ethics with the cleric's player during creation, and make sure it's something the character will actually live up to. A small, cumulative penalty on divine spellcasting rolls, theoretically extending until the point where such spellcasting is almost impossible, is my preferred mechanic for dealing with minor transgressions of the sort that tend to happen in play.

    They'd have to do something really bad to warrant a total loss of power (ideally at the most "Morrow, Morrow, why have you forsaken me!" available to me) and something even worse to provoke a literal manifestation of a divine messenger, since those things tend to happen very very seldom (more than one in a decade tends to indicate Extremely Serious Business is afoot). I find the actual Booming Voice Of God a bit oversimplistic and cheesy - plus it tends to open the door for Holy Grail quoting, and goodness knows I don't need to encourage that sort of behaviour.

  5. I tend to agree that introducing something subtle ahead of time should clue the cleric in that something is amiss - there's a relic coming up in a future game, and when it doesn't work as expected (for him), maybe he'll go seek an answer.

    So far most everyone is thinking there should be real in-game consequences for clerics that don't follow their ethos - I'm surprised!