Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Of late, I don't know what it is, but I've begun to miss some of the particular features of the D&D of my youth, third edition.

Now not everything, mind you, and not yet implemented in the same way. But I am finding that a nice d20-based skill system, a few simple feats, a saving throw model based on the way one resists rather than the effect one resists against, and even the idea (if not quite the execution) of prestige classes have begun to wander around the distant corners of my mind.

Were you sick of hearing me talk about Clerics yet? In case you weren't, one of the early symptoms of this line of thought came to me when I was reading Luigi Castellani's Dangers and Dweomers, a thought very uncharacteristic of my recent approach: If you were embracing that peculiar D&D henotheism that often rankles me, for instance if you were playing a Forgotten Realms game, it might be an interesting experiment to allow clerics to choose from the appropriate domain spells-- only the domain spells (but perhaps unlike 3.x, all the domain spells, rather than just your choice of two domains from the appropriate god's list.) My brother felt that it restricted the abilities of clerics too much, but I think it'd be an interesting idea, and if not suitable for PCs maybe suitable for NPC priests that are not adventuring, militant clerics.


ProfessorOats said...

I'm with ya on the 3E stuff. There are so many times when I go through changes made in the supplements or 1E and think "This 3E approach would've worked so much better!" Sadly, they just tacked these onto the old stuff instead of replacing it, like with the greater strength bonus for large weapons adding onto an already greater damage die

Prestige classes are another thing I still like. I prefer their freer approach over that of the bard. I'm thinking of making druids one. You'd start as a neutral cleric, using a different domain with different spells and no turning, then become initiated into their cult

I was even still considering additive multi-classing until very recently! I prefer the old school, "gestalt" approach, but 3E made it a tougher choice, especially for spellcasters. You could end up multiple spell levels behind your companions, which was really cool. Ultimately, though, I decided that level of disparity was something I wanted more for post-name level characters. Since I already wanted to cap advancement at name level, gestalt multi-classing should work fine

Rachel Ghoul said...

I'll seriously swallow my tongue and die before I go back to additive multiclassing. If I'm already doing feats though, a feat-based multiclassing system like 4e had might be an interesting experiment. Gestalt multiclassing isn't bad either.

The only issue I can see with a prestige Druid is that it carries some rather curious implications with it. If all druids are former clerics who converted, then that seems to suggest that nobody's brought up in the druidic religion or if they are, they don't specifically train/study with the hope of becoming a druid, just poach priests from the religions that produce clerics.

Now that's not necessarily wrong, but it says something pretty distinctive about the world. Which, after all, is sort of what Prestige Classes were originally meant for, to help flesh out the world and special groups within it. Only later did they become a tool of the most base and vile evil.

Rachel Ghoul said...

Although, if they start out as a variant of the cleric with distinct abilities-- perhaps a shaman, as ACKS termed its druid class, then you don't have to run into that wrinkle unless you want to.

ProfessorOats said...

"... Prestige Classes were originally meant... to help flesh out the world and special groups within it. Only later did they become a tool of the most base and vile evil." Oh, I know! I've been saying this for, like, ten years

The idea was for the druid class to represent the inner circle of the cult, which could be open to more than just neutral clerics (which I'm calling aspirants). Aspirant is merely the easiest path to becoming a druid, and it's a variant cleric like you described

Edward Wilson said...

I've always wanted D&D 3E type clerics to have a tailored spell list for each deity (or pantheon maybe). Maybe 6-10 spells per level available and all spells either relevant to the deity's domains or something generic, like Bless.

Seraphim said...

Ed that is the way I ran my clerics going all the way back to 1st ed. If you were a Cleric of the god of Fire you got a specialized list that pretty much included every fire spell everywhere plus the standard cleric spells. With the same treatment for every deity I never had a lack of enthusiastic clerics in my campaigns. In fact it was quite a shock to hear the venom poured on them when I got digging on the net finally.