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Good Way to conceptualize a cleric for somebody with a real chip on their shoulder about religion?

I like the gameplay of the cleric spells a lot, but I just hate it from a roleplay perspective.

Skatan
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Comments

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 2,596
    edited July 2
    probably the only way to RP a cleric that has a chip on his shoulder about religion is to make him don't use his clerical spells and if possible dual classing completgely forgetting his starting class. Like a RL priest that lost his faith give a new start to his life and do something other.

    or ignore completely the game's lore and play pretending that divine magic is not religion related and a priest is only a different type of mage, that has access to a different spell system then the arcane one, and not a person that has dedicated the life to the worship of a god and gets his powers from the god himslef.

    in the FR the gods really exist, are not a matter of faith, and the power a cleric has is given by the god he is serving. maybe a priest can not like what the human followers of a god do so can let's say worship Helm but can avoid any contact with the helmites, but without changing completely the game's lore a cleric is tied to his god and to religion.

    Chroniclerleeux
  • ChroniclerChronicler Member Posts: 823
    To be clear, I the player have a chip on my shoulder about religion, and I'm trying to figure out how to make a religious character that isn't unpleasant to roleplay.

  • SkatanSkatan Member, Moderator Posts: 4,301
    I'm just like you and have still to this day never played a single classed cleric in any game, D&D or other franchises. Maybe you could try and RP that your CHARNAME is a cleric because of the power it brings and because a certain deity's ideology fits with their own? Making the devotion part more of a focus of aligned perspectives rather than pure devotion for devotion's sake. Maybe this doesn't fit all that well into a D&D cleric though, it's more like a Blackguard really. The only cleric I would want to play is a dwarf Cleric of Abbathor, which I would have no problem RPing. But Tempus, Torm, Lathander etc is much harder for me. Talos could perhaps fit the bill decently, but being a powergamer I'd much rather play a Cleric of Lathander for the Boon.

    Chronicler
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 2,596
    i did understand that, but if your feelings about religion are so bad that you have problems to RP a religious character, even if the FR religions are not the RL ones, i don't see how you can play that way without changing completely the FR lore.

    If your RL problems are with the religious institutions you can RP a priest that has no contact with the religious institutions in the game, but only with his god, like Aerie, that worship a gnome god but has no contacts whith its church or affilliations with other churces.

    If your RL problem is with god(s) himeself in the FR the gods are a real and proven thing, not a matter of faith, so the only way is your own custom rules and lore pretending that a cleric is not a priest, but a different type of mage that don't get the spells from a god, but from an other source.

    that is what i told in my previous post. i am not able to find an other, better solution for your problem.

    Chronicler
  • ElysianEchoesElysianEchoes Member Posts: 310
    Let your higher self be your god, and let the spells be manifestations of your internal values?

    SkatanChroniclergorgonzola
  • NerfyNerfy Member Posts: 12
    Just remember that in the dnd setting, the gods are real beings with tangible proof (you yourself are playing the child of a god), and so it's actually legitimate and sensible. The rules are different, just like if you were playing an evil character I suppose.

    ChroniclerThacoBell
  • shabadooshabadoo Member Posts: 136
    Unkitted, your alignment is your God. You gain your spells and abilities from the strength of your faith in yourself and personal beliefs.

    ChroniclerElysianEchoes
  • StromaelStromael Member Posts: 109
    One of my favourite characters, Gruntle, in one of my favourite book series (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, Part 4: Memories of Ice) starts the story as an irreverent, irreligious caravan guard, and winds up having his body and mind used by a newly re-awakened god, becoming his unwitting and unwilling champion of war, despite hating the killing he's forced to do. Don't know if you could role play it in that direction? Sort of hating his deity and spells, but being overwhelmed by them and forced into using them in difficult situations, and then gradually coming to begrudging terms with it all.

    ChroniclerSkatan
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 2,596
    edited July 3
    last try... :)
    you can like it or not, but charname is partly a god, and in the end he has the chance to become a god or give away his share of god essence to have it destroyed together with the tob boss.
    if you have problems to RP a charname that is a priest, so worship and serve a god, you probably have no problem with it, as you are playing the game.
    So
    Let your higher self be your god, and let the spells be manifestations of your internal values?
    has even more sense.
    a cleric gets his powers by his god, you are not willing to worship gods, but charname has some god essence in him, he can get priestg like powers directly from that essence. He gets his powers from bhaal not because he worship him, but because is a spawn of him.
    i assume that in the end game you chose to not become a god, seeing your attitude towards religion, so your cleric charname should probably loose all his powers in the moment the bhaal essence gets destroyed with amelyssan, and live the rest of his life doing something other, but you will play with the interesting divine spells until the last battle without having to rp to worship and serve any god, not even the one that gives you the powers as your ultimate goal is the complete destruction of his essence.
    EDIT: if you choose to follow that approach and are playing good you should probably avoid to gate devas as the one allowed by your evil god essence is not compatible with your human personality and alignment.



    Chronicler
  • PsicoVicPsicoVic Member Posts: 196
    edited July 3
    Be a cleric of Ao, the Overfather. Lazyest god ever.
    If it were not for Ao's involvement in the Time of Troubles, he would likely have remained unknown to the mortals of Faerûn. He just started the Time of troubles, wrote the laws of God´s management and disappeared again.

    He does not care about the world. Does not speak with his followers. He ignores the other gods until they mess up badly. He does not need followers to be a divinity.

    So as a minister of Ao you do not have to pray or talk to your god. You do not have a flock because no one cares about Ao, most people didn´t even know Ao exist. You do not even have a church. The rest of the churches does not even acknowledge you.

    You just wake up and go questing. No strings attached. When they ask you about religion you just say that you do not believe in gods, you believe in an invisible and intangible higher power unrelated to the ritualistic and anthropocentric manifestations of divine powers that the other churches have.

    https://forgottenrealms.fandom.com/wiki/Ao

    ChroniclergorgonzolaFlashburn
  • ChroniclerChronicler Member Posts: 823
    edited July 3
    gorgonzola wrote: »
    last try... :)
    you can like it or not, but charname is partly a god, and in the end he has the chance to become a god or give away his share of god essence to have it destroyed together with the tob boss.
    if you have problems to RP a charname that is a priest, so worship and serve a god, you probably have no problem with it, as you are playing the game.
    So
    Let your higher self be your god, and let the spells be manifestations of your internal values?
    has even more sense.
    a cleric gets his powers by his god, you are not willing to worship gods, but charname has some god essence in him, he can get priestg like powers directly from that essence. He gets his powers from bhaal not because he worship him, but because is a spawn of him.
    i assume that in the end game you chose to not become a god, seeing your attitude towards religion, so your cleric charname should probably loose all his powers in the moment the bhaal essence gets destroyed with amelyssan, and live the rest of his life doing something other, but you will play with the interesting divine spells until the last battle without having to rp to worship and serve any god, not even the one that gives you the powers as your ultimate goal is the complete destruction of his essence.
    EDIT: if you choose to follow that approach and are playing good you should probably avoid to gate devas as the one allowed by your evil god essence is not compatible with your human personality and alignment.



    That's actually an old concept I had a lot of fun with. I'd play through bg1 as whatever class, then in bg2 I'd dual to cleric, saying that after learning about my heritage I started working to harness the divine energies within myself.

    I'd forgotten all about that. Could be time to give it another go.

    gorgonzolaPsicoViclolienSkatan
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 2,596
    So your problem is solved, i am glad to be able to help you :)

    Skatan
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 9,033
    @shabadoo " You gain your spells and abilities from the strength of your faith in yourself and personal beliefs."

    I'm fairly certain that 2e doesn't work like that. You HAVE to have a patron deity to cast divine magic. If you are going to ingnore the setting to that level, you may as well roleplay that divine magic is just another school under the arcane schools. Gods and religion are kind really tightly interwoven in most aspects of D&D.

    gorgonzolaPsicoVic
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 2,596
    @ThacoBell you are right, but i think the OP is more interested to mechanically play a cleric then to RP him correctly.
    Anyway seems that the trick to get both the things at once without putting him in a not confortable position seen his RL problems with religion has been found.

  • ArviaArvia Member Posts: 608
    @Chronicler , if you don't like religion, I understand that you wouldn't play a Cleric of Lathander or Tyr or Helm, but what about Tempus, like Branwen? All he asks is to be courageous and fight.

    Chronicler
  • ChroniclerChronicler Member Posts: 823
    Arvia wrote: »
    @Chronicler , if you don't like religion, I understand that you wouldn't play a Cleric of Lathander or Tyr or Helm, but what about Tempus, like Branwen? All he asks is to be courageous and fight.

    I'm not sure I understand the distinction. Could you elaborate?

  • shabadooshabadoo Member Posts: 136
    @ThacoBell, indeed it does not. But 3e does. It allows a cleric that is something akin to a monk who uses his/her inner focus and Ki energy to cast spells etc...instead of fighting skills. Technically this would limit the character to lawful alignments, but that's a rp decision.

    gorgonzola
  • ChroniclerChronicler Member Posts: 823
    shabadoo wrote: »
    @ThacoBell, indeed it does not. But 3e does. It allows a cleric that is something akin to a monk who uses his/her inner focus and Ki energy to cast spells etc...instead of fighting skills. Technically this would limit the character to lawful alignments, but that's a rp decision.

    From what I understand, while Dungeons and Dragons in general allows for that, in the Forgotten Realms specifically a patron is required, because the setting is so god-heavy.

    That being said, Baldur's Gate describes a cleric as "A generic priest of any mythos" or something to that effect, and I personally think that should include godless religions like Taoism and such. Imo the archetypes the various classes represent are more important than all the nitty gritty details about which weave your mage uses or whatever.

    gorgonzola
  • ArviaArvia Member Posts: 608
    edited July 3
    Chronicler wrote: »
    Arvia wrote: »
    @Chronicler , if you don't like religion, I understand that you wouldn't play a Cleric of Lathander or Tyr or Helm, but what about Tempus, like Branwen? All he asks is to be courageous and fight.

    I'm not sure I understand the distinction. Could you elaborate?

    What I meant was that his rules don't require you to do anything that you wouldn't do anyway in the game. Not much roleplaying required. But if you dislike religion in any form, maybe you'd feel better with a druid, although they only have a few spells in common. I mean, if it goes completely against your nature, would you have fun playing?
    I wouldn't have fun playing a thief, for example. Or a barbarian.

    Chroniclergorgonzola
  • ChroniclerChronicler Member Posts: 823
    Arvia wrote: »
    Chronicler wrote: »
    Arvia wrote: »
    @Chronicler , if you don't like religion, I understand that you wouldn't play a Cleric of Lathander or Tyr or Helm, but what about Tempus, like Branwen? All he asks is to be courageous and fight.

    I'm not sure I understand the distinction. Could you elaborate?

    What I meant was that his rules don't require you to do anything that you wouldn't do anyway in the game. Not much roleplaying required. But if you dislike religion in any form, maybe you'd feel better with a druid, although they only have a few spells in common. I mean, if it goes completely against your nature, would you have fun playing?
    I wouldn't have fun playing a thief, for example. Or a barbarian.

    I like the shaman most from a roleplaying perspective. They serve spirits rather than any kind of higher power, and while they've taken certain vows it doesn't sound like they're part of any kind of larger dogmatic order.

    I also like the paladins, even though they're usually played as pretty religious. I like to conceptualize them as a warrior who draws power from some particular virtue, like how Sailor Moon is the Soldier of Love and Justice, Sailor Jupiter the Soldier of Thunder and Courage, and so forth. I feel like the archetype of the virtuous warrior is one that can be largely divorced from religious dogma, and I hear 5th edition even supports that kind of reading, with a heavier emphasis on their vows than their gods.

    The cleric very much seems like it's supposed to be a religious fantasy though. In much the same way that the mage allows a scholar to imagine a scenario where their studies lent them fantastic powers, the cleric allows religious people to imagine a scenario where their god is tangible and real and their faith is rewarded with obvious miracles.

    gorgonzola
  • ElysianEchoesElysianEchoes Member Posts: 310
    edited July 3
    In FR, a patron isn't required, per sé . . . you just end up part of the grey wall after death if you don't have a god to collect you. Assuming memory serves, anyway.

    Edit: spelling

    Chronicler
  • ChroniclerChronicler Member Posts: 823
    In FR, a patron isn't required, per sé . . . you just end up part of the grey wall after death if you don't have a god to collect you. Assuming memory serves, anyway.

    Edit: spelling

    Yeah, I forget the details but afterlife isn't good for the godless in The Realms.

    One of the Neverwinter Nights games apparently has a campaign where you march against the heavens and fix that, which is a fun angle. Of course it marks the game as being more specifically "non-canon", since no other Realms media adopted the changes your character makes to the heavens.

    There are enough channels to pursue immortality in The Realms though that I feel like it wouldn't be hard for a capable adventurer to convince themselves it's not gonna be a problem. In real life for example you might have a diet that will one day kill you, but you might not make dietary changes, because that feels so far away and abstract. How much moreso would it be if you could imagine that sometime between now and then you might become a vampire or something.

  • ChroniclerChronicler Member Posts: 823
    The Ur-Priest is a also 3rd edition class that can enter a form of meditation where they can intercept spells that gods are sending to their clerics and steal them.

    I think that's also a fun idea. Meditation is a fun middle ground where it's a little hippie dippie but you're seeking some kind of enlightenment without allying yourself with any higher power or subscribing to any dogma.

    Ur-Priests have to be evil though, which is stupid. Theft in general is a morally neutral action. A thief can be good or evil in the realms. But if you steal from gods then that's evil, even though many of the gods are themselves evil, and combating them and their servants in other ways is usually considered an act of good.

    SkatanPsicoVic
  • ChroniclerChronicler Member Posts: 823
    People become Ur-Priests for two reasons by the way. First is that they hate gods, of course.

    The second though is that their god is dead. If a cleric's god dies, then they might become an Ur-Priest, so that they can continue accessing divine magic while they work to revive their god. Does that sound like anybody you know?

  • ArviaArvia Member Posts: 608
    @Chronicler , those are interesting thoughts you are sharing here. I believe I remember you mentioning in some other discussion your strong attitude towards religion having destroyed or swallowed the pagan traditions in many places.

    I guess that we have to remember that the Forgotten Realms are different. The gods are real there. No faith required, you can see and hear and experience their power. I don't think there would be atheists in such a place. Even shamans channel divine powers of some sort, although taken from the elements rather than a god.

    On the other hand, even in such a fantasy world, there would be people who don't approve of meddling gods.
    Here's what Granny Weatherwax, most powerful witch on the Discworld, has to say on the subject:


    "I don't hold with paddlin' with the occult" said Granny firmly. "Once you start paddlin' with the occult you start believing in spirits, and when you start believing in spirits you start believing in demons, and then before you know where you are you're believing in gods. And then you're in trouble."
    "But all them things exist," said Nanny Ogg.
    "That's no call to go around believing in them. It only encourages 'em."


    For additional thoughts on playing divinity related classes in a game (as opposed to real life belief), I'm tagging @BelgarathMTH , the atheist who likes to play clerics, druids and paladins.

    JuliusBorisovThacoBellgorgonzolaStromael
  • ChroniclerChronicler Member Posts: 823
    I don't remember saying the pagan thing, and that doesn't sound like me, but I do admit that having grown up in a predominately Calvanist Christian Culture, much of my ideas around religion in general are centered around that particular religious tradition.

    Specifically I was raised Mormon. A religious tradition that's sufficiently divorced from what I've always known religion to be could be fun, but I have trouble wrapping my head around that sort of stuff, for obvious reasons.

    Like I hear Jewish People have a parable where God lays out some rule for a man, and the man feels that this rule is unjust. He debates God on the subject, and wins, and God is ultimately proud to see his son growing up to be such a thoughtful and critical man. That sounds like a very different relationship with God than the one I was taught to seek.

    The idea about drawing on your own divine energy similarly relies on a demigod having a fundamentally different relationship with divinity than the one I have a problem with. The 12 Labors of Hercules doesn't really take me back to Mormon Missionary Work or anything.

    gorgonzola
  • ArviaArvia Member Posts: 608
    @Chronicler , you're right of course, that wasn't you, it was someone else without an avatar picture and whose name started with c. My mistake, I apologize.

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