Thursday, July 14, 2016

Rewriting the B/X Cleric [Part 1]

Cleric spell list has always confused me. While most of the spells seem to fit the theme and role of the class (detect evil), I have been consistently off-put by others (sticks to snakes). I have heard that some of the more colorful spells (part water, for example, but that's a magic-user spells, anyway) are biblical references. Maybe they are. I don't know. The Bible (author unknown) has never struck me as the type of literature I would enjoy, although I know that many others do.

For reference, lets look at the spells that have nothing to do with smiting, healing, divination, or protection:

* Silence 15' radius
* Snake Charm
* Speak with Animals
* Growth of Animals
* Speak with Plants
* Sticks to Snakes
* Insect Plague

Notice anything? Do any patters stick out to you? 

With the exception of Silence 15' radius, which looks more like a magic-user spell, all of these spells are nature-related, which to me always scream druid.

Maybe it's because I always associated druids more with magic-users than clerics, but these seven spells continue to be off-putting to me. Why should Poseidon grant his followers Insect Plague or Thor allows his champions to charm snakes. Where are the thunderbolts? Where are the tidal waves?

There is, however, a reason why clerics don't have access to call lightning and control water. Clerics are not generic priests.

They have more in common with the classical image of a Paladin or one of King Arthur's Knights of the Round Table than that of the champion of Greek or Norse god. Now, if I am going to interpret the B/X cleric as  a paladin, why not bring it full circle and update the spell list?

As it turns out, teachers don't work during the summer holidays and I always need more excuses for delaying progress on my novel (I hit 100 pages today, by the way!). 

[Tune back in tomorrow for part 2]