Wednesday, December 4, 2013

13th Age Options: The Cleric

Next up are a few more options for the Cleric.  The Cleric has a history of allowing for various build options in D&D, most notably depending on domain (i.e. a Cleric of the Sun plays differently than a Cleric of War).  While I don't think that the current 13th Age Cleric lacks for options, the player in my group who played one complained that the class is too Daily-heavy.  The vast majority of its spells are Daily use, and the Domains have Daily effects as well.  All of the following options provide a little more flexibility in resource management.  The new spell was an option that I created specifically for my Cleric player, while the Domains are new (and unplaytested) creations.

New Spell

Divine Mark (1st Level Cleric Spell)
Ranged Spell
Once per battle
Target: 1 nearby creature

Attack: Wisdom + Level vs MD
Hit: The target is dazed until the end of your next turn.  The target is also Marked (Hard Save ends).  Each ally that hits the Marked target heals HP equal to double your level.

3rd Level Spell: The target is Weakened instead of Dazed.
5th Level Spell: Allies that attack the Marked target deal an extra 1d10 damage.
7th Level Spell: Increase the bonus damage to 2d10.
9th Level Spell: The spell now targets 2 nearby creatures.


A once per battle spell is really a no-brainer since there's only one other (Spirits of the Righteous) on the Cleric's list.  While Clerics do admittedly have a lot of Daily options to play with, during rounds when you know you're not going to use one, you're reduced to the choice of spamming Javelin of Faith or a basic attack (or Combat Boon, later).  For someone hoping for a more "complex" class this might seem lacking.

My player was also interested in getting some more control abilities, as well as in providing healing that doesn't cost a Recovery (my group is...weird about Recoveries).  A "pacifist," non-damaging spell fit the bill really well (which is a niche all by itself; one of these days I might have to work up a non-damaging at-will ability).

While a Hard Save sounds pretty powerful for a once per battle ability, I've not found the spell to be overpowered, mainly because Marked enemies go down really quickly, so it doesn't provide as much healing as you might think.  Still, any feedback from other groups would be highly useful, as it's more art than science to create a non-damaging spell like this, especially when most of the others you might compare it to scale via an HP cap.  Perhaps an HP cap is a better way to go about designing this spell, but truthfully I wanted to explore something a little different.

New Domains

Domain: Arcana OR Mysteries
Choose another spellcasting class.  You can swap out one of your own spells for a spell of your level or lower from that class.  
Adventurer Feat: You can use Wisdom for the swapped spell's attack and damage.
Champion Feat: You can swap out 2 of your own spells for 2 spells of your level or lower from that class.
Epic Feat: You can swap out 3 of your own spells for 3 spells of your level or lower from that class.  Additionally, you can choose a second spellcasting class, and spells you swap out can come from either additional class.
Invocation of Arcana/Mysteries: The crit range of your spells and spells cast by nearby allies expands by +1 this battle.

Domain: Focus OR Fortitude
When you pick your spells at the beginning of a Full Heal Up, you can choose any Daily Cleric spell twice, gaining two uses of that spell.
Invocation of Focus/Fortitude: Once during this battle you can allow an ally to make a Recharge Roll immediately after using a Recharge power.  If they fail they can still attempt to Recharge the power after the battle normally.  OR you can let an ally make a Normal Save immediately after using a once per battle power, and if they make the save they can use that power again.
Champion Feat: Reduce the power's Recharge result by 5 (so a Recharge 16+ power becomes Recharge 11+) for the bonus Recharge roll.  Regaining a once per battle power becomes an Easy Save.
Epic Feat: You can affect 2 allies with this Invocation during this battle.


With the Arcana/Mysteries Domain a Cleric has access to more non-daily spells simply by virtue of being able to choose from the list of another class, which should offer enough customizability to satisfy any player.  For players who feel that they're "stuck" playing a Cleric because the group "needs one" (which, as it turns out, is one of my gaming pet peeves, but plenty of players still have this mindset), this Domain is an opportunity to expand into a concept that they'd rather be playing.  For Clerics interested in this Domain but who still want to focus on their core role as a "leader," I would point them to the Bard class, and ask their GM really nicely if they can use this Domain to swap out spells for Bardic Songs.  This Domain can be used to evoke the feeling of the old Mystic Theurge Prestige Class from D&D 3.x, and this is no coincidence; the Cleric player from my 13th Age game once played one of these, and layered another Prestige class that threw Psionics into the mix on top of it.  Needless to say the character was fairly useless (and in a 3 person party, no less), but if he ever wants to revisit the concept, this version avoids the pitfalls of 3.x.

Meanwhile, the Focus/Fortitude Domain gives the Cleric a version of the Wizard's High Arcana, namely the ability to double up on Daily spells.  Going along with the theme of doubling up, the Invocation lets an ally gain a double use of a Recharge or once per battle power.  This Domain will allow a Cleric to "play favorites" with their myriad of Daily spells (hint - a doubled up spell might be a good candidate for Ritual Magic, since you'll still get to use the spell in a fight later).


  1. Really like the options. However I'd try and come up with another domain name for the the Devotion or Focus domain... but of the top of my head I'm dry...
    Perhaps Planning OR Power... anyway something with more oomph!
    Again, the mechanics are awesome - I love the Arcane/Mysteries domain... can make for some intreesting character.

    1. Huh, the other options that I was thinking of for Devotion/Focus (instead of Focus) was Persistence. Would that be better?

  2. Persistence is good, I like that. Actually Devotion I'm a bit more iffy with than focus. Devotion certainly sounds better at first... but it seems odd to have a god who's realm of power is devotion... you'd expect most gods to want that from there followers, certainly their clerics (although I get the idea of a paticularly devoted cleric getting double access to spells)

    Mmmm opening my 13th age book smells good... ahem!
    So I would be tempted by Focus OR Persistence... the opening my book was to see there is no domain of order/law... you could go with Order OR Persistence (with the rational that it's orderly to do the same thing multiple times...), Plus a god of order is classic DnD style.
    Despite liking Persistence I got some synonyms you might prefer: Persiverence, fortitude, decisiveness, determination, conviction, purpose, stubbornness, imperishability, permanence, resolve...
    (the synonyms for focus were awful... perseverance on the other hand is full of awesome ones)
    Ok that's fine for now - what do you like? :)

    1. Hmm, there are a lot of good options there! I'm hesitant to go with Order because I think an Order/Law Domain would be a good idea in its own right. Maybe in an article with a Chaos/Freedom domain.

      The more I think about it, the more I like Focus, too. And I get what you mean about all Clerics being devout. I think I like Perseverance, Conviction, and Resolve better than Persistence. And Fortitude is actually pretty good, too. Conviction and Resolve suffer (though to a lesser degree) from the same problem as Devotion. So I guess my favorites would be Focus/Perseverance and Focus/Fortitude.

    2. Yeah, Focus/Fortitude is sounding really good at this point. Using the same spells twice (and allowing allies to do similarly) fits the concept of pushing yourself past your normal limits, especially if your vision for how magic works is that it's physically taxing to channel through your body. Or if that's not the case, then Focus is a good default since it's synonymous with specialization, which is what this Domain allows you to do.

  3. Cool! Focus/Fortitude it is... and to be honest anyone using your options has at leat a 50% chance to read the comments and of they like som of the other options, they can re-flavor the domain as wanted.

    Yes I like the Idea of having an Order or Law and a Chaos or Freedom domain group made... however (I was thinking about this this morning) what I would find most satisfying would be to get a mechanic so cool that it would allow you to have the "Chaos OR Order" domain (Inspired by the Life OR Death domain, which pleased me)