Thursday, October 1, 2009

Thoughts On The Cleric, Part II: The Friar

Per yesterday's discussion, here's the Friar variant that I'm working on for my campaign. I realize it is a step down in overall power level from the Cleric, but that doesn't bother me a great deal, as I still see a niche for this. I'm very curious to see it playtested--let's hope someone chooses it!

Right now, I've just limited spells to 4th level. I'm not totally satisfied with that, as I want to give him some rough cantrips and lower-level spells, but don't want anything to high-powered in there. Suggestions welcome--oh, and this is for Castles & Crusades system (though you certainly don't need to be fluent in that system to comment--I'd love some outside views!):

A Castles & Crusades Variant Class (hopefully suitable for other Classic-Style RPGs as well)

While Clerics and Paladins tend more towards larger-than-life holy crusading, it is the Friar that humbly protects the common people of the land. This less-vaunted brother of the church is often found in rough homespun, spreading the word through assistance to the poor, sharing their burden, and, when necessary, stout defense against the wicked.

Friars are generally down-to-earth, practical, and less concerned with doctrine than emotional response. Some may even be illiterate, but still manage to spread the holy scriptures by word and by deed.


Spiritual Discernment (Wis): More instinctual than doctrinal, Friars have a proclivity for discerning the holy or unholy qualities of a person, place, or thing. Upon a successful check, a Friar can tell these qualities, which often come in the form of hunches as “off”, “right”, or “wrong”.

Improvised Weaponry: A friar spends much time with the peasantry, and if defending a village or farm, he must use whatever is at his disposal. To that end, he may use any improvised weapon as its nearest analogue without any penalty (for example, a chair leg would do damage as a club, a boat oar can be used as a staff, and farm implements can be used as is, such as a scythe).

Magic: Only minor magics are the Friar’s to command, and they mainly follow those of the Cleric. However, even minor magics can have a tremendous affect on the lives of everyday people. They progress as the Friar Spell Progression Chart, listed on this page. They do not have to memorize a spell to cast it, but may cast spontaneously from their strong belief and practical strength.

The Friar chooses spells from the Cleric list.

Prime Attribute: Wisdom
Typical Races: Human, Dwarf
Alignment: By Deity
Starting Gold: 1d4x10. Any unspent is lost.
Hit Die: d8
Weapons: Staff, club, sling, improvised
Armor: Any light or medium. Friars generally wear their rough robes, but are practical enough to know the value of leather or a chain shirt in dangerous times.
Abilities: Spiritual Discernment, Improvised Weaponry, Spells

(Ok, both of the below tables will look like poo. Sorry for the poor formatting).

Friar Level Progression
Level HD BtH EPP

1 D8 +1 0
2 D8 +1 1601
3 D8 +2 3350
4 D8 +2 7601
5 D8 +3 15001
6 D8 +3 30001
7 D8 +4 60001
8 D8 +4 120001
9 D8 +5 240001
10 D8 +5 450001
11 +3 +6 625001
12 +3 +6 800001

(See comments for my replacement text for spells)

Friar Spell Progression (Spell Known/Daily)
Level 0 1st 2nd 3rd 4th
1 2
2 3 1
3 3 2
4 3 2 1
5 3 3 2
6 3 3 2 1
7 3 4 3 2
8 3 4 3 2 1
9 3 4 4 3 2
10 4 4 4 4 2
11 4 4 4 4 3
12 4 4 4 4 4

Special thanks to Orlandia and Old Guard Gaming Accoutrements for inspiration! This class is also available in pdf here.


John Reyst said...

Interesting take on the Friar and thanks for the "inspiration" note :) I was originally inspired by this one but have since rewritten it for Orlandia. Mine is extensively reworked (basically completely different now) but I thank E.G.Palmer for the original inspiration.

I like your Improvised Weaponry ability. I might borrow something like that for mine. Right now mine basically is just proficient with commoner type weapons. I didn't give the friar in Orlandia spell progression but did give him a lay on hands ability as well as some more support type abilities (inspire like a knight). Also, I think that the fact that friars survived by begging makes for an interesting roleplaying effect. I'd love to see a player RP begging for dinner with nothing more than the robes on his back :)

E.G.Palmer said...

I like it Zach. Now I'm going to have to go back and rewrite parts of my original. Like John, I think I'll add in your improvised weaponry clause.

"he may use any improvised weapon as its nearest analogue with any penalty "

Should that be, "without any penalty"?

Zachary The First said...

@John—I think I may change that to the lay on hands ability, plus a few 0-levels. That may be enough right there. I think I like that better than the current spell progression, which seems a bit much.

@E.G.—yes, it should read “without”. That’s why this is a draft. ;) Thanks for catching it—I’ll change that tonight, before I print it out for campaign use. Whew!

My thanks to both of you kindly souls for your contributions overall! That’s one of the things I love about people posting their ideas online—a concept can continually be reworked.

1d30 said...

His spell progression seems weird. Shouldn't the daily spells for level 1 be equal or more than level 2, and so forth? It looks like first level spells lag behind at 3/day for a while there.

I'd give the Friar a number of men he can inspire at once, as the leader of their unit (loose as it may be), and that unit gains say +3 morale and +1 to hit. Five men per level seems appropriate.

It would be a combination of their trust in him, the relief that he is there to heal them magically, and a willingness to protect him from harm.

I envision it more as a way to help the peasants out, but there's no reason why soldiers couldn't benefit from it.

Too gamey?

Zachary The First said...

@1d30—Maybe too gamey, but perhaps a discount to hirelings? They’re more in-line with the common folk, I think.

I’m thinking I’m going to ditch the spells, except for some 0-levels, and add the lay-on hands ability (nothing too major). I think you’re right on spell progression—a little too weird in trying to keep it low-level.

Zachary The First said...

Here's the replacement text for magic:

Healing: Twice a day at first level, the friar may heal a character for 1d8 HP. This is a mix of divine magic and practical medical knowledge. The friar may add one healing attempt per day at levels 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11. At level 6, the healing increases to 2d8 daily; at 10th level, 2d10.

Magic: Only minor magics are the Friar’s to command, and they mainly follow those of the Cleric. However, even minor magics can have a tremendous affect on the lives of everyday people. The Friar begins at first level with 3 0-level spells from the Cleric list. They may learn 1 additional 0-level spell from the Cleric lists at levels 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12. At levels 4, 8, and 12, they may learn 1 1st-level Cleric spell. They do not have to memorize a spell to cast it, but may cast spontaneously from their strong belief and practical strength.

John Reyst said...

I like it, but in Healing it says "The friar may add one healing 'attempt'" but it's not really an 'attempt' is it? It's just roll 1d8 and done as written.

I also like the spontaneous casting ability for their magic. I have been thinking more and more about ways to get past the amount of time it takes a cleric player to pick new spells each day. This is already drastically improved in C&C vs. 3.x/PF D&D due to the massively smaller spell list, but its still potentially an issue if(when) I port more spells in. I know myself, as a player, sifting through basically every single spell each day is time consuming. I have been considering trying to offer a different sort of mechanic as an option for cleric players to use instead of the normal mechanics.

Zachary The First said...

@John: Yes, it is automatic normally--"attempt" just came to mind. I guess there's always something that could happen, huh?

I'm with you on Spontaneous casting. It's one of the reasons I did a sorcerer class for C&C. I don't port in many spells, but you're right, it can be problematic.

Filamena said...

I love this. Poor forgotten country friar. Damn you for making me want to force someone else to run my game so I can play one for a while.

Zzarchov said...

Consider beefing up the "improvised" weapon aspect. perhaps have them up the die size (or allow a re-roll) on improvised weapons by one in the first conflict its used (attribute it to dumb luck).

So if a Friar takes a chandelier from the ceiling and swings it as a flail in a pinch, it does more damage. If he tries to keep it around as a superflail, no such benefit. You might want to extend that to the no penalties as well. Using a boat oar as a staff in a pinch (no penalty), taking a boat oar into the dungeon to avoid buying a staff...penalty.

Bill Stannard Half assed DM said...

my thoughts on the friar which are something i been thinking about and pretty much along ways the same path as you were working on but i have set it up for D and D 3.0 but again easly changable for different games.

The Friar class
Cleric variant the missionary

Race: Any HD: d8
Alignment: Any Good
Starting Money: 2d4 x 10
Skill points: 6+int/lvl 1st lvl x4

Primary ablity scores: Wisdom 1st, Charisma 2nd

Skills: Diplomacy, Gather information, sense motive, spiritual discernment, alchemy, heal, intuit direction, wilderness lore, listen, spot, search, knowledge nature, knowledge religion, consentration

feat recommendations: Track, alertness, improved initiative, combat casting

Weapons: Staff, Club, Sling, Diety's weapon(free weapon proficiency)

Armor: Any Light or medium, buckler, small shield

Languages: Common, racial, bonus languages can only be common races in towns and cities.

Choose a diety that matches race and alignment. Choose two of that diety's domains. Choose another two domains that are not opposing to your alignment or deity. Those 4 domains are all the spells you get, but you pick at time of casting which spell from any of those 4 domains you wish to cast with out having to pray for them when you rested, although you must pray for an hour when you rest for the energy to use them. Difficulty to resist your spells is 10+spell lvl+wis modifier. Of those 4 domains you only get spell levels 1 to 5 you get all the granted powers of those domains and bonus daily casts of spells.

NO turn undead but ablity is replaced with the Sermon Power

Sermons: Sermons effect 1d4/lvl beings around the Friar. there are three possible effects of sermons which effect is chosen by the friar at time of use: Calm gives plus 4 to moral saves, Encourage gives +1 atk, Rally gives +1 AC.
Sermons can be used 3 times a day plus your CHA modifier. The Feat extra turning increases this as if it were turn undead bonus.

Granted ablities:
At level 2 once a day a friar can use Rope Trick spell to make a shelter. At level 6 it is upgraded to Leomuds tiny Hut. At level 11 it is upgraded to Leomuds secure shelter, at level 16 it is upgraded to Hidden Lodge spell. Friar can choose which to make as they gain upgrades.

Level up: Attack and resists are the same as the cleric normal in the players guide except they never get a third attack a round.
spells follow the cleric normal in players book until they would start to get level 6 spells at that point all level six spells per day are added to the level 1 per day amount. Level 7 when aquired would go to level two extra spells and so on.

my Friar will never shake the powers in the heavens but he will save the people and bring them to his god. He can bring shelter to those caught in the rain and calm the mass's encourage them when town in attacked or help them defend the farm. he only gets the lowest of rez spell but can use them more often. The only rule i am considering adding is if the town he is in population exceeds 400 then he will feel the urge of his god to move and act as missionary some where else. that makes him an easy motivation for the DM.