Supplement Review: Divine Favor: The Cleric by Stefan Styrsky from Open Design

Open Design‘s Divine Favor series has done a good job of presenting some interesting options to player characters (PCs) using the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Many of their options revolve around classic traits of traditional classes and Divine Favor: The Cleric continues in that vein. Some of the ideas come from classic myths and literature and others offer some unique views to shake up their world a bit.

The role of Cleric in every game I’ve ever played in always seems to boil down to being the MASH unit of the group. Primarily they are there to do two things – heal the PCs and turn undead. Occasionally a cleric also can help by “buffing” the party up with spells like “Bull’s Strength” and others. Beyond that, any additional religious or philosophical aspects are largely ignored. It’s that “healin’ feelin'” that’s the biggest selling point when considering which classes to choose for a particular party.

Stefan Styrsky and Wolfgang Baur have taken that stereotypical view of Clerics and turned it on its head, adding some truly interesting abilities. What if a cleric could do more than simply cast spells to help or heal his or her own party and hurt their foes? What could you do with an acidic Molotov Cocktail-throwing alchemy-based cleric? Or a cleric who could touch a foe and show them the moment of their death? Or a cleric who could wade into a crowd of foes and destroy an area with entropy and decay? These are definitely not your traditional cleric roles. And yet, they’re very cool to consider.

The book introduces three new domains (Alchemy, Apocalypse, and Prophecy) and ten different sub-domains such as Books, Exorcism, Horoscope, and Truth. Each offers some intriguing abilities and opens up new realms of spell possibilities (as well as a few new spells). I can see all alignments of cleric using the Apocalypse domain, focused on the end of times. The Entropy sub-domain (that ability to destroy an area with entropy and decay) could truly cause some serious devastation in the hands of an evil cleric.

One of the most interesting combinations gives a cleric some gambling abilities merging Gambling (subdomain of Luck) and religion. A priest with this subdomain gets the “Go for it All” ability which offers the ability to roll a d20 for an attack or skill and then roll 2d6, calling out a number between 2 and 12. If you guess correctly, you can add the 2d6 result to your d20 roll. If you miss it, you subtract half the roll (minimum 1) from your d20.

In addition to the new domains, spells, and abilities, there are also nine new Archetypes to play with. From the Ascetic denying bodily needs, the Exorcist combating evil outsiders, the Flagellant proving faith through self-abuse (like the self-abusive albino Silas in The Da Vinci Code), the Weapon-Sworn proving faith through study and use of their deity’s chosen weapon, and the rest. I love these easy-to-apply character types, especially for NPCs.

Though Divine Favor: The Cleric is only 20 pages long, it packs a ton of great ideas into a small space. If you’re looking for ways to refresh these holy crusaders, you can’t go wrong! Pick up your copy at the Kobold Quarterly store or at DriveThruRPG.

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