Sunday, April 3, 2011

C is for: Cleric

From the 90's on I have probably played more Clerics than anything else. In 1st edition D&D I liked fighter types the most with magic-users as a close second. I did have one cleric though he was definitely a secondary character:

This is probably about his 3rd character sheet. The first one would have been on notebook paper. The second one would have been on a goldenrod sheet like this but over time they get pretty grungy and grimy from spills and eraser marks (this was before we discovered sheet protectors and erasable markers). This one is far too neat for me to have used it much after transferring from the old one. This was probably done after our harrowing journey through D1 or D2 where I ran multiple characters along with a couple of other players. Between characters, henchmen, and various other things in the party (like Homonculi) it was more like an invasion than a secret strike force. Looking at his ability scores, I seem to recall using some wishes and one of those stat-raising books to boost some of his stats.

Thelegad was a cleric of Heironeous, the honorable war god in Greyhawk. Being more of a supporting character he rarely was in mortal danger and was quite content to sit at the back and dump either healing or blasting spells, whichever was called for at the time. Thus the accumulation of magic items. In my defense I will say that he did spend a lot of time going through published adventures and those old adventures contained quite a bit of treasure. If you were the only cleric in the party, well, you tended to end up with all of the cleric-y magic items. Considering how un-filled the back of this sheet is I know I never played him again after moving to this one as I always filled in the mundane equipment stuff at the top. I think we paused in between D2 & D3 and probably never went back to 1E with that campaign and those characters.

Somewhere during our 2nd edition playing time Faiths and Avatars was published for the Forgotten Realms and I became a devotee of Tempus, the war god, and never looked back. Specialty priests of Tempus were a blast to play and this started the Maximus Dynasty:

Remember when we used to buy packs of character sheets?

This is actually Brutallus the Second as the First used a two-handed spear and was a half-elf. His descendants  have all been human as it usually works better mechanically and keeps with the theme. The best thing about the Tempus specialty priest was that you could finally, legally, take a clerical character and use something that was sharp! They could pick one weapon as their blessed weapon, and they got a +1 to hit & damage and could incite berserker rage in themselves and their party. With that bonus, decent stats, and a magic sword like the one he found, he was pretty ferocious in combat. This made things a lot more exciting and also helped me justify that "I'm not here to heal ya son" attitude I played him with. This was a cleric that was in the middle of the action fighting right alongside the fighter and the paladin in the party and kicking ace while doing it! This (and his predecessor) was my main character for a fair chunk of my 2E playing time.

For 3rd edition I re-made Brutallus at some point, calling him the 3rd, but I can't find his higher level sheet. I do have his lower level sheet and here it is:

For III I stuck with the two-handed sword concept and otherwise made him a straight cleric. Later on I experimented with taking a level or 4 of fighter but this seriously impacted his ability to throw Flame Strikes so I dropped that goal of going for Fighter Weapon Specialization and decided to get more out of my casting ability.

Feats were mostly devoted to making him better in combat since that's where he intended to be most of the time.

Ah, the 3 page character sheet. I much prefer 2 pages, but with spellcasters it's sometimes difficult to pull off. Note the Magical Throwing Greatsword - a bit of a violation of Tempus preferences but it's good to have options in combat and sometimes you need to free up both hands for a spell anyway.

In 3rd I mostly ran but on those uncommon times when I did get to play I mostly played clerics (Brutallus in some form or fashion) and occasionally druids, with a smattering of something else here and there. Then we went to 4th Edition and I've done nothing but DM since. Almost...

One of my players decided to take a stab at DM'ing 4th edition so I finally got to play! Details are here but suffice it to say Brutallus Maximus IV plays a lot like the previous incarnations - he's a bad dude with a two-handed sword and a war god on his side. He can wade into melee, stomp some tail, and throw out some divine retribution as well. Now he's only 1st level so far but he's still a lot of fun to play and I had a very good time dusting off the concept and the attitude once again, almost 20 years after the first. His feats here, once again, are dedicated to making him nastier in combat.

That's a default picture, not my first choice. The "Adventurer's Kit" handles most of the old-school 50' rope, bedroll, two weeks worth of rations kind of thing so it's a shorter list here than some others.

 There are his powers. In this case I went ahead and made his big daily spell a nice area-effect heal as he was the only clerical type in the party. His bread and butter is Righteous Brand which tags a bad guy and sets up an ally with a bonus to hit that same bad guy too. The other two at-wills are situational with Sacred Flame  being able to grant a save if one is needed and Lance of Faith gives him a nice ranged attack in case the need arises, but it's not his preferred approach.

Anyway, that's my presentation of the Cleric, brought to you by the Letter C.


Jeremy said...

C is for cookie.

That's good enough for me.

Blacksteel said...

Now that's old school...