Six Clerics for Pits & Perils

In my previous post I created six Fighter characters for Pits & Perils, each with a different stat. I will do the same for the Cleric class in this post. Again I will use 40 gold pieces as the standard.  I used the Triune Saints  as a guide when creating the story of most of the clerics.

The Strong Cleric

Background: Merchant

Gear: Pack, bedroll, rations(7), mace, leather, pole, cloak, tinderbox, lantern, oil, holy oil, ale, rope, holy symbol 4gp

Abner worked as a laborer on a trader’s ship.  Spending two years lugging crates and barrels of silver, gold and spices for the wealthy, he became aware of the plight of the poorer people in the shipyards. Tiring of strenuous manual labor, and realizing he could earn his daily bread doing something more noble, he entered the priesthood of the Order of St Agnes. Little did Abner know that he would be volunteered for the grunt work during his year as an acolyte!

The Dexterous Cleric

Background: Farmer

Gear: pack, bedroll, rations(7), hammer, leather, shield, tinderbox, waterskin, torch(6), blessed mulberry jelly (as holy oil), holy symbol, 2gp

As an orphan, Beatrice worked at St. Elmo’s orchard in the summer, climbing the tall mulberry trees to tend the sick branches and harvest the sour fruit. In the autumn, working in the cookery preparing jellies and pies. Then one evening the nearby cemetery opened up and a swarm of the dead stormed the abbey. Being but ten years old, and seeing the priests fleeing in panic at the skeletal army, Beatrice charged defiantly with torch in hand, and they fled at the sight of her. It was considered a miracle, and Beatrice was sent to train as a crusading nun of the order of St Elmo.

The Wise Cleric

Background: Performer

Gear: pack, rations(7), bedroll, club, donkey (as pony), saddle, lantern, oil, tinderbox, holy symbol, 1gp

Garret the conman earned his bread pretending to be a priest. Carefully observing the ritual, patterns of speech, and liturgies of the Triune faith, he visited the homes of the wealthy posing as a Friar of St Julian. Eventually he was caught in an affair with a lord’s wife and flogged. It was observed by members of the order of St Julian that his act was so convincing that he might as well take the vows and become a cleric. After being branded as an adulterer and conman, Garret saw no other option but to try it. To this day, he preaches that being caught in his deception was the best thing that ever happened to him.

The Intelligent Cleric

Background: Gambler

Gear: pack, bedroll, rations(7), quarterstaff, club, leather, sling, stones(20), tinderbox, waterskin, dice, chessboard, holy symbol, 12gp

Donald is well versed in all dice games, as well as games of abstract strategy. He made his living hustling the dice and the chessboard, but always made a point to tithe from his winnings. When applying to be accepted as a novice of order of St Gregory, it was his argument that Triune made the laws of probability. By wisely playing games and giving charitably from ones winnings, one does honor to the Triune. Also, if the unvirtuous gamble and invest their winnings in sinful pursuits, it is the duty of the virtuous to deprive them of their money through fair play so the money is put to righteous use.

The Sturdy Cleric (constitution)

Background: Bowyer

Gear: pack, bedroll, rations(7), prodd, bullets(20), Yeti fur, club, knife, tinderbox, torches(6), holy symbol

In the subarctic region, Eric eked out a living making archery equipment for hunters and militia. He designed a bullet firing crossbow that suited the Triune clerics’ preference for weapons that minimize bloodshed. To prove its utility, he spent a week on a glacier tracking a Yeti through a snow storm that would have frozen lesser men, and slew it with the crossbow.

[You will notice that I gave him the Yeti fur, which itself would be quite expensive. However, it suits his background, and serves merely as a warm cloak.  Therefore I ignored the otherwise expensive cost of this cloak.]

The Charismatic Cleric

Background: Town Crier

Gear: pack, bedroll, rations(7), mace, chain, waterskin, tinderbox, torch(2), rope, holy symbol

Gordon was the the town crier of his district, but also his natural charm made him persuasive in calling the faithful and the unfaithful to the Church of Triune. However, it so happened that the crowds would rather listen to him preach than attend the local church. Tithes dropped, and Gordon found himself distributing the funds to the needy that would otherwise maintain the church. It was agreed the order of St Leonard would train him in the priesthood and send him off where he would cause the least amount of grief for local congregations. He would bring the good news of the Triune to the poor, the lame, and the lepers, and to anyone else away from normal civilization.


New Crossbow Weapon for Pits & Perils

I adapted the Prodd to Pits & Perils after creating a cleric with a background of a Bowyer.

The heavy bullet firing crossbow

With twice the cost of a regular crossbow, it’s main purpose is to provide the clerical class with an easily trained projectile weapon that doesn’t offend their sensibilities about shedding blood in combat.

A bag of 20 round lead bullets cost twice that of arrows or quarrels.

It is a heavy weapon that must be braced and cranked to reload.  As such, it only fires every other combat round.  It could also be loaded with small clay pots of holy water for destroying undead at a distance.

If I were to read this, my first question would be, “Why buy this when I can buy a sling for 5gp and twenty shots for 1gp?”

Good question.  The crossbow is better suited for dungeons as it does not need the extra room to be twirled about as a sling might.  And by my own optional rules, if the crossbow wielder is loaded and ready to fire, but loses initiative, he can still fire.

For twice the cost, the cleric gets a decent projectile weapon. And anyone wishing to kill without leaving a blood trail can do the same.




Clerics and Witches

I want to draw parallels to witch and clerical powers in RPGs.

Clerics get their power from a deity, and witches get their power from the entity they make a pact with. The two are similar in this regard. Advanced Fighting Fantasy has an interesting approach to clerical magic.

In Advanced Fighting Fantasy, a priest gets a unique suite of powers based on the deity he is devoted to. Each god grants three powers from a list of generic priest spells. There are generic spells such as Heal, Smite (damage versus a particular type of creature), Banish (undead), Bless, Ward, Shape Change.

Each god also grants one power unique to that god. For example, Usrel, the Goddess of Peace grants a spell which creates a space wherein no one may take an aggressive action for a short period of time.

All the good gods grant the Heal spell, but only Usrel grants Banish. Another good god, Hamaskis (the god of learning) grants the priest a photographic memory, and a bonus to Lore special skill tests.

There are neutral gods that grant powers related to nature. This is good for running a Druid type character. Hydana grants the power to walk on water. Pangara lets the priest summon wind. There are Beast Lords which are the essence of a type of animal that grant the power to speak and be friendly with animals of that type eg. bears, deer, snakes, etc.

The evil gods predictably do not grant healing spells but some rather potent offensive spells. The god Decay grants the power to rot or rust one item per day, Disease grants the power to inflict illness, and Arhallogen the God of Spiders grants the power to be friendly with spiders and communicate with them. He also grants the generic power to shape change, so your priest can become a giant spider.

All the gods grant a one time salvation spell that saves the priest and possibly his companions from imminent danger.

All the gods require the priest to follow the path of that deity or lose his powers, just as in other RPGs.

The priests can invoke each spell power once per day, and if they pay a cost in Luck, can do so twice. The magnitude and duration of certain priest spell effects depends on their Priest Magic special skill, but otherwise thats it. It’s mechanically fairly simple but very flavorful. Even if you don’t want to play AFF, I suggest the game material as a source of inspiration in this regard.

Something like this might work well with Pits & Perils for the clerics devoted to the saints of various orders. Perhaps each Saint may grant a spell unique to their domain of authority under the Triune God.

I got to thinking that something like this might work well for Witches making pacts with various spirits. Those spirits might grant a small suite of spells and in return of course the Witch offers her blood to pay for them. And like a cleric, the witch would have to help fulfill the agenda of that entity to keep the pact magic.  The entity may be satisfied with the witch spilling her own blood, but on the other hand, it may demand more.

I would need to playtest the witch to see how it works out.  What I don’t want to do is step on the toes of either the magician or cleric class, but offer something in between.