Thursday, July 1, 2010

No Clerics!

I'm a jerk DM. I run a dangerous, freeform sandbox campaign with the potential for all sorts of injurious events, and I've explicitly disallowed Clerics as a PC option for reasons of genre emulation (despite the Bene Gesserit, Severian, etc.).

I created the Sage and Mind Wizard classes as a genre-appropriate replacement, but althoughs they have access to the cleric's suite of poison and disease cures and the like, they do not have access to cure light wounds and the other hit point refilling spells. Undead aren't that common in my game, so the loss of Turn Undead hasn't really affected things.

I'm not a total jerk, so I instituted the common First Aid houserule (apply first aid immediately after a battle/injury to restore 1d4 hp), as well as a generous hit point recovery rate of 1d3 points per day (I'm quite fond of random healing certainly emulates the uncertain nature of recovering from injuries in adventure fiction, "After several days Wilson hadn't regained consciousness so we had the bearers build a litter so that they could carry him as we continued our journey," "..despite his grievous injuries Rok-Mhor was his usual lusty self after a few days rest...")

The end result is that while on an expedition the party often has to shack up in a defensible campsite for several days so injured party members can get back on their feet, in both the literal and figurative meaning, often having of fend of random encounters in the process.

A band of treasure hunters, holed up in a swarming jungle, fending off hostile natives and voracious wildlife, hoping desperately that the injured members of their party recover before they run out of supplies or are overwhelmed so that they can escape this green hell...

The no clerics rule has been working out pretty well as far as I'm concerned!

ALSO: I've been having problems with both my computer and my mobile device, and consequently have been neglecting keeping up with my emails and the comments, please bear with me as I get caught up :)


  1. I haven't missed the absence of clerics in my game either. I folded a bunch of the cleric spells into the MU list (even the healing ones) but I may have to try this "first aid & rest" option instead of the standard healing spells...

    I allow Lawful characters with a blessed holy symbol to turn undead at two levels below that of the NPC priest who gave the blessing, making the cleric PC all the more redundant.

    Glad to hear the "no clerics" rule is working well for you!

  2. I've been using the 1d4 "bind wounds" since the earliest days. I like that it helps low level dudes (who need all the help they can get), but by around 5th level or so it's a drop in the bucket and not that much help.

  3. I have always kind of hated the necessity of having a cleric in the party anyway and was trying to think of some ways to get around it in my next sandbox game. I've come to hate the entire idea of having to design a party for game balance purposes, like some MMO raiding party because I'd rather just be free to play whatever I want.

  4. clerics. They're uniquely D&D.

    I love inspiration, but I've always drawn the line at emulation.

    D&D is rightfully its own thing, IMHO.

  5. James at the Underdark blog made some very awesome cleric npc's - no small feat!

  6. Ever since I gone into my Sword & Sorcery phase, the Cleric class was the first to go! I use Magic-users as prists, but for the most part, clergy is more of a background hook. Without the healing spells, and to maintain that pulp style, I allow the PCs to recover [2, +level, +/- Con Adj.; min 1] HPs after each battle if treatment is applied, and 1/2 of the PCs total HP after full bed-rest. Its a bit lenient, but I like to keep the adventures going.

  7. There have been no clerics in my game with my current group, but not b/c I have made it so, they just hate the idea of the class. Resting+binding, picking your battles wisely, and stealth are the order of the day at my table.