Taking a hammer to the cleric

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Taking a hammer to the cleric

Having played it straight for a while, I'm getting ready to house-rule the cleric.  My issues:

  1. No spells at 1st level is a big change for many of my players.  I'm okay with it, from a world-building standpoint I even like it, but changing it would mesh well with a fix for 2 below.
  2. There's no tactical decision to make or resource management to consider when turning undead - if you can turn undead, you should turn undead.
  3. On certain axes they're better "wizards" than mages are.  The standard cleric always has Detect Magic, which the mage may or may not have.  They get a much larger spell repertoire once they get spells, and that's magnified at 6th level when they get two spell repertoires at once, followed by another at 7th.

What I'm considering:

  1. Spells from first level, and a rationalized spell progression.
  2. Turn Undead is now a 1st level cleric spell.  Now there's an actual gameplay decision to make.  (I believe I'm stealing this from LotFP.)
  3. Introduce smaller repertoires for clerics, no longer their full ten spells.

Major questions to decide:

  1. Is there another "fixed" cleric progression floating around, or just use the standard spell progression and lop off 5th level spells?
  2. Size of repertoire - calculate the same as mages, or give them a larger number, say a flat five per spell level, in recognition they're carrying the burden of turning undead and healing the party?
  3. Related to the above, I'm even considering using the improved spell progression, so they've got more than one cure or turn undead at 1st level.

Thoughts?  Critiques?

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The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

1. Labyrinth Lord offers a cleric progression with spells at 1st level but I think it proceeds into higher spell levels.

2. I would recommend that you calculate it based on spell slots + WIS bonus, and then you can have different "sects" of clerics offer different spells.

3. I haven't done the math but I think the Improved Spell Progression with 6th level spells lopped off would be very close and certainly without the margin of error that we call game balance :-)