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5 Questions Every Cleric Should Be Able to Answer

Last week we posted an article about 5 Questions Every Fighter Should Be Able to Answer. Well, we decided to make that into a series and share with you our thoughts on 5 Questions Every Cleric Should Be Able to Answer. Like last week, this series applies to any d20 fantasy-based game, such as Pathfinder, D&D 5e, 13th Age, or Swords and Wizardry.

Of the core four classes, clerics frequently get the least respect. In books and movies, they seldom have the spotlight. They can fight, but do not have the selection of weapons that a fighter possesses. They can cast spells but not as good as a wizard. In combat, they tend to have to drop what they are doing because the fighter has a boo-boo.

So why play one, other than the party needs a healer? Well, the role playing opportunities are excellent. The class itself is so full character and life that someone playing a cleric should just drink it up. To help you do this, here are 5 questions you should be able to answer when playing a cleric.

1) Why Did You Join This Church?

In all d20 fantasy games gods are as plentiful as puddles after a rain. So why did you join this church? Please note, this question is not, “Why did you join the clergy?” I’m just asking what got your foot in the door initially here. Was it because your parents are dead, and they took you in and raised you? Were you a merchant looking to make important business connections? Did you like the spectacle of their ritual sacrifices? Did a member of the church save you from an undead attack? Were you hedging your bets for the afterlife? Perhaps it was as pedestrian as, you grew up in a small town and it was the only religion in the area. All of these answers will help provide you with a solid foundation for your character.

2) What Made You Join the Clergy?

You could easily have been just a another member that listens to the cleric speak from time to time, made the occasional offering, and lived the rest of your life, but you didn’t. Why? Do you genuinely believe that the deity’s beliefs and methods are something you agree with, and you can see no other way for you to live your life? Do you have a need to tell everyone how much better their lives would be if they just did what your deity said. Were you in some kind of tragic accident/attack that killed everyone in your town/family/etc and the church is all you have left? Is it that you like to kill things, and this is one of the few socially acceptable ways of doing so in a civilized society. Do you crave the power to tell someone that follows the same faith as you what to do, and they do it, no matter what? How about this answer, its just a job. While we have trouble imagining that today, 500-1,000 years ago, being a priest was not a calling of faith but a way to provide a job to the fifth or eighth child of a land owner that didn’t want to split their territory. This is a defining moment in your character’s life, one that keeps you close to the deity’s power. This should not only color how you see the church but the world as well.

3) What Does Your Character Do To Have Fun?

Sure you can play a stereotypical cleric that loves singing the deity’s songs, reading the deity’s holy books, yet even real life clergy get tired of that from time to time. Heck, some even enjoy watching Family Guy. Not many, sure but still. They all have to kick back and relax. Not only that, some are naturally relaxed and can chill with no problem; others never seem to be comfortable having fun. Is your character socially awkward and makes noticeable but cute mistakes trying to fit in while drinking and playing cards? Are they an entertainer that missed their calling and are the life of the party by singing and juggling? Perhaps your character is more studious and is a voracious reader. This question adds a layer of complexity to the character and provides your character with more depth.

4) Where Do You And Your Deity Disagree?

The all to frequent answer to this is, “I don’t know. I never thought of that one before.” Before being asked that question, most players of clerics just substitute their deity’s beliefs for their own and call it a day. Remember, you are playing a person, not a bunch of talking points. Play someone with their own unique point of view. This can be technical, trivial point that no one outside the church’s clergy would care about or this can be as a serious fundamental point? Perhaps it is that you felt the deity should have acted to save someone from harm and the deity failed to do so. This sets up a conflict between the character and a major part of their life. If you want to explore this aspect, make sure you communicate this to your GM to build something with that in your game.

5) What Is Your Relationship To the Rest Of The Group?

Do you see your party as potential converts and are always telling them about why they should kneel before your god’s symbol? Do you see them as allies on a common mission. Are they just comrads in arms or are they friends? Like I said last time, you should definitely trust your party. However, that doesn’t mean that you cannot have a complex relationship with them.

Runa Cloudsoles is our signature dwarven cleric. Her clan worshipped Marduk and joining the clergy was her dream. She seldom had time for fun, working the cloud silver mines to help her family earn a living. Now that she lives on the ground, she is free to seek adventure. While Marduk believes justice should involve an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, she shows mercy more often than others of her order would otherwise be. She sees her fellow adventurers as friends that work towards similar goals: justice, adventure and wealth. Runa, however, wants to use her wealth to talk to her family and find out if they want to live on the ground with her and make a safe and stable place for them. Read more about Runa here.

Want to give your cleric a celtic flare? Download Book of the Faithful: Celtic Subdomains for the Pathfinder RPG today.

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5 Questions Every Fighter Should Be Able To Answer

It doesn’t matter which fantasy game you play: Pathfinder, D&D of any edition, 13th Age, Swords and Wizardry, or any other variation on the game, they all have someone that is easy to for a new person to play that generally involves swinging a sword. Some move onto more complex classes; others stay with their tried and true favorite. No matter how long you have been playing the classic fighter class. Just because the mechanics are not terribly complex does not mean that role playing such a character should be stunted. Fighters can be just as involved and complex characters as any other on the board. To help you get into your character and see the world through their eyes, here are five simple questions that can help you immerse yourself into your character even more.

1) Why Did You Start Fighting?

You didn’t pick up the sword yesterday. You have trained for this. You fought against something and you emerged victorious. What was it? Why did you fight? Did you grow up on the family farm and a spider the size of a dog start spitting its venom at your family nearby and you attacked it with your garden hoe? Did the king conscript you into some battle and you happened to survive? Where you sold into slavery and thrown into a pit with another slave and were told to kill the other before the other slave killed you while the crowd took bets on who survived? No matter how you answer that question it will provide you with a solid foundation for your character.

2) Why Do You Fight Now?

Sure, fighting may not have been your choice before, but why do you do it now? You could be sitting in a tavern drinking, in a mine swinging a pick axe, a local guard, someone in the regular military, someone that loads the cargo docks, or one of a hundred other jobs that will probably see you having a longer life expectancy than walking into a dark cave looking for trouble. Are you on the run from someone more powerful? Perhaps you are trying to avenge the death of someone you held dear. Maybe you already killed the person that murdered your loved one and are now just trying to earn enough money to have the dead person resurrected. Did you return home from the war having seen so much that no one you love wants to be around you anymore? Have you been fighting for so long that you no longer know who you are until you are wearing the armor and swinging your weapon? This will help you find out who this character is on a day to day basis.

3) When Will You Not Fight?

“When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like the nail,” is an apt expression for the fighter. “Something is coming!” “I STAB IT!” Fighters are frequently accursed of being from the “Stab first, ask questions never,” school of thinking. But even they will sheath their swords if the right thing is put in front of them. The question is, what is it for your character. Is it an old war buddy that had your back? An old commander, mentor, teacher, or family member that helped you become what you are today? Perhaps it is a wounded bunny rabbit, even if it is sitting on top of a suspicious-looking tree stump with what could be a weird grin on its front? How about instead of it being something that obvious, you will stay your hand for something less expected, like when a member of a religious order appears, even if you do not appear religious at any other time. Perhaps you will not fight on the anniversary of your parent’s death, and you just won’t tell anyone why you are spending the day in a bar. This question is important because it introduces a source of internal conflict in your character, helping them go from an idea to a person.

4) What Are You Afraid Of?

Everyone is afraid of something. Some won’t admit it, but even they are. Are you a sensible person and are afraid of spiders? Did you see your dead buddies on a battle field being raised before your eyes and now have a terrifying fear of dead bodies just lying around? Is the sound of war drums or the way the ground shakes when cavalry is charging right at you? Is it the musty odor of a dungeon or the putrid smell of rotting corpses? Even worse, is the screams you hear every night as you try to fall asleep that can only be quieted by massive amounts of alcohol? Like the last question, having a fear is a source of internal conflict that provides depth to the character, but it also gives the person a way to grow. By standing up the fears, you can make a character that fights not only the demons on the battlefield but also the demons raging inside.

5) Why Do You Trust The Rest Of The Party?

Please note, I didn’t ask “do you trust the rest of the party?” The answer to that question must be a resounding “Yes.” As someone that has played his fair share of games that involved the rest of the party not trusting each other, it can go bad. Like ending friendships bad. Yes, I am speaking from experience on this. Many campaigns start with the group coming together and that is fine, but after a while you all need to have a talk where everyone finds reasons to trust each other beyond “they fought beside me.” Consider having a session where everyone stays in character the whole time around the fire and everyone gets to know the other characters. You’d be amazed at just how bonding that can be to a group.

What Other Questions Should A Fighter Be Able to Answer? Leave Your thoughts in the comments below.

Darlanrea, the elven fighter, is featured on the cover of our adventure Deadly Delves: Reign of Ruin. Download this adventure today for Fifth Edition, Pathfinder RPG, 13th Age, and Swords and Wizardry.

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Swords and Wizardry: Unleash the Reign of Ruin

Beware The Blackener Of Bright Waters, For She Is Come Again
Rumors of death move like a plague through the Crannogtowns of the Great Swamp—of ranger patrols mysteriously disappearing on routine scouting missions, of a winged shadow that blots out the midday sun, and of entire villages slaughtered, their homes left burning and the victims’ flesh melted from their bones. All evidence gathered from the sites of these massacres points to the heart of the Great Swamp, where an ancient and primitive tribe of lizardmen have ruled from an abandoned human temple for centuries on end. The Crannogtowns’ protectors, the Stormhammer Rangers, warn that horrid half-dragon monstrosities still stalk the bogs and travelers would do well to stay away from the inner swamp. Yet the killing and the carnage continue, and the people of the Crannogs plead for heroes to aid them now as they did in days long forgotten. Are you up to the challenge?

Reign Of Ruin is the exciting inaugural adventure module in Jon Brazer Enterprises’ Deadly Delves product line and is designed for the Swords and Wizardry Roleplaying Game. This adventure is designed to heartily challenge a party of 6th-level PCs and leave them with a memorable heroic tale. Inside this volume, you’ll find:

  • 11 New or Modified Monsters for your campaign, including lizardmen warpriests, mud zombies, and befouled spirits
  • 2 New Magic Items waiting to be discovered, including the glorious rainbow sceptre
  • Full-color maps of a Crannogtown village, as well as five floors of a terrifying temple dungeon
  • Specialized advice on playing a cunning black dragon against a group of PCs in a dangerous game of cat and mouse
  • Enough content for five 6th-level PCs to gain nearly two levels, with ideas to extend the story even further once you’re done exploring the temple

Dangers Unknown. Treasures Untold. Adventure Awaits.

Download Deadly Delves: Reign of Ruin for your Swords and Wizardry game at the Jon Brazer Shop, DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, and the Open Gaming Store. This adventure is also available for Pathfinder, Fifth Edition, and 13th Age.

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SW: Lizardfolk Mud Zombie

Earlier this year, one of our editors proposed converting one of our Deadly Delve adventures to one of the many OSR rules sets. Figuring why not give it a try, we choose Reign of Ruin and choose Swords and Wizardry as the rules to take. Its a solid game supported by a company that we at JBE respect.

So if you want to see our products in the S&W rules, make sure you download this adventure at JonBrazer.com when it comes out next week.

Today we are showing off one of the monsters from that adventure. We have a lizardfolk mud zombie for you to use in your own adventures.

Mud Zombie, Lizardfolk

Layers of mud crack and flake as the desiccated body of this lizardman moves inside its hardened burial shell, lumbering toward you and loosing an unsettling hissing moan that shreds through its dry lungs and vocal cords.
Hit Dice: 2
Armor Class: 6[13]
Attacks: 2 claws (1d3), 1 bite (1d6)
Saving Throw: 16
Special: dust cloud, immune to sleep and charm
Move: 6
Alignment: Neutral
Number Encountered: 1d6
Challenge Level/XP: 3/60
Similar to normal zombies, these are lizardmen that have either been encased in mud in a horrific ritual, or simply died in a mud pit near desecrated ground and rose later as an undead creature. Whenever a mud zombie takes damage, a dust cloud kicks up around it. Any creatures within 5 feet must immediately succeed on a save or suffer a –2 penalty to all rolls for 1d3 rounds.

Download Deadly Delves: Reign of Ruin for the Swords and Wizardry rules next week at JonBrazer.com.