I hate this. I hate resenting my family, who I love. But my wife gets home from work and she wants my attention even (or especially) after the kids have gone to bed. Damn it, I need some time to myself! And sleep...some time.
Mainly, I just want to get back to my writing. Been working on putting Cry Dark Future together. It's been slow going, but it IS coming together...finally. Was working on it last week (till Thursday...Fridays are the wife's day off and, as said, she wants/needs some attention). Now, well, hopefully I'll have a couple hours tomorrow....literally. As of now, I know the school's going to be two hours late, which means I'll have from 10:30 till 12:30 to write before my preschooler needs to be picked up.
ANYWAY...while staying up too late last night (folding laundry), I got the chance to listen to Delta's most recent "livecast" video with the Wandering DM. I found myself (in my usual fugue state), nodding along with their ideas of chopping the cleric class from their D&D game, quickly eliminating (in true Gordian Knot fashion) all the multitude of issues associated with the class.
[if you're...at this moment...saying, "what issues?" then you might want to go check out the video. They do a good job explaining]
[jeez...while I'm taking a few minutes to type this up, my wife is in the other room watching CNN with the children, explaining what the State of the Union address is. My kids are eight and four. We are such crazy parents]
Anyway (did I already say that?)...as I was trying to drift off to sleep, sometime after midnight, I found myself thinking of all the ways to answer those clerical "problems" without cutting the class from the game. Despite the spinning wheels preventing my rest, I have to say I really appreciated my brain's efforts because I LIKE having clerics in my games (for lots of reasons), and I think it's easier to make minor tweaks that deal with the problematic aspects than defaulting to a "nuclear option."
And because I've been neglecting
[...whoops! Duty calls!]
[many hours later]
...because I've been neglecting my blog readers, I figured I'd share some of MY answers to the problematic parts of clerics.
|Wizard or Evil High Priest|
2) Clerics ever-expanding spell list: another old complaint...every time a new clerical spell gets added, all clerics become more powerful (because clerics have access to every spell, unlike wizards). The easiest fix is to treat clerical magic as spells: each spell is a prayer that must be learned just like a wizard's spell formula, limiting clerics to a finite number of spells. This allows clerical spell research (not to mention clerical spell scrolls) to make sense. "But if cleric magic is just another type of spell, why are the spell lists different from a magic-user's?" For the same reason illusionists have a different list...or druids. They are simply different types of magic.
3) The importance of healing (and clerics' healing ability) forcing the class into the role of "medic": I have to say Delta's idea of simply populating his campaign with easily found healing potions really bugs me. First off, OD&D specifically limited spell use to one use of each spell per day (page 19 of Men & Magic), so for folks basing their game on the LBBs, there should be no issue with "lack of variety" of cleric magic (you can't use cure light wounds more than once per day anyway). Another idea I've used before (in Five Ancient Kingdoms) was to limit clerical healing to adventures only: as God-granted miracles, healing magic (or any type of clerical spells) are unavailable between adventures (i.e. "back in town"), instead only being granted when out on an expedition. Clerical magic is a plea of desperation for divine intercession when facing incredible danger...not some trip to the fantasy spa for a little R&R. Make characters heal the "old fashion way" (bed rest and chicken soup) once they've left the dungeon.
4) "Weaponized" clerical magic: have to say I agree that I hate the idea of using clerical spells like light and silence in an offensive capacity (to blind an opponent or neutralize spell-casters); even B/X does this, which just isn't right (permanently blind someone with a targeted continual light? This should be the purview of the curse spell). The easiest fix here is (again) to go back to OD&D where there are no such use of these helpful spells (neither light nor continual light allowed targeting of opponents' eyes, and silence 15' radius was used to "move with no sound" or to silence "an object or thing" not an enemy spell-caster...see Greyhawk, page 30).
5) Providing parties with a "too easy" method of neutralizing undead: this is only an issue if you allow multiple turning attempts against the same opponent in a single encounter (I don't) and/or you're using undead in singular numbers like some cinematic horror antagonist. Mummies (as tomb guardians) should be buried in numbers, vampires should have their "spawn" with them (brides of Dracula?), and Ring-Wraiths (i.e. "specters") always travel in packs. Against multiples of undead a cleric is going to have a much lesser effect, given that no more than one 7 HD vampire can ever be turned/destroyed, even by a cleric of level 11+ (since a successful result only affects 2d6 hit dice of undead).
|Drac and "Friends"|
[okay, I ended up writing most of this post Wednesday morning. Sorry for the delay]