Surely if you’re reading this article you’re well aware of the fact that Necromancers of the Northwest puts out new class features, feats, magic items, and spells each and every week, right here on the website, free of charge. But did you know that we also make books, and that sometimes these books experiment with some slightly more profound game design than the odd feat or spell? Or that we’ve made our share of 20-level base classes with their own unique and exciting mechanics?
One of those classes, the priest, was designed specifically to create a divine caster that really felt like they had a direct, personal connection with their deity, instead of being a wizard who gets to wear heavy armor, fight with a mace, and cast healing spells. It did this through a two-pronged system of favor and piety, which, in simple terms, allowed GMs to reward a priest’s player for acting in accordance with his faith with extra spells or other benefits, in much the same way that the priest’s deity might conceivably reward him or her with better magic power.
Since then, we haven’t really done much with priests, for one reason or another, so today I’ve got some spells that are tailor-made for priests, and make use of the faith and piety system found (along with the class itself) in A Necromancer’s Grimoire: The Book of Faith.
You allow the target a mental glimpse of your god in all his or her glory, and impress upon him the virtues of your faith. Unless the target succeeds on a Will save, he immediately converts to your faith, becoming a devout worshipper of your deity and taking to heart all of your deity’s teachings and values. His alignment immediately changes to the closest alignment to his own that is within one step of your deity’s alignment (so if a priest of a lawful good deity cast this spell on a lawful evil baron, the baron’s alignment would become lawful neutral, but if he cast it on a lawful good paladin of another deity, the paladin’s alignment wouldn’t change).
This shift in attitude is instantaneous and lasts indefinitely, but can be undone with an atonement spell, or any other effect which changes a character’s alignment and values, though the target himself will resist such attempts to the best of his ability. While the target becomes a devout and true worshipper of your deity, he does not necessarily share your goals, nor do you have any direct control over him. If your deity’s teachings can be interpreted in multiple ways, or special circumstances occur, he may even be at odds with you.
For each step the target’s alignment is from your deity’s alignment, this spell costs an additional 3 points of favor to cast (so a priest of a lawful good deity would need to spend a total of 23 points to cast conversion on a chaotic evil target).
Mantle of Protection
You call upon your god to intervene and shelter you from harm. For the spell’s duration, any damage you take does not cause you to lose hit points. Instead, for every 3 points of damage you would take, you lose 1 point of favor. If you do not have any favor remaining, you take damage as normal. This has no effect on effects that do not deal hit point damage, including ability score damage, death effects, and so on.
Shield of the Faithful
With this spell, you grant the sheltering protection of your deity to the target. By default, the spell has only a single target, but for every additional point of favor spent to cast the spell beyond the normal amount, you may choose two additional targets within range. Each target gets a +5 deflection bonus to AC for the spell’s duration.
Smite the Unbeliever
You call upon your deity to bring down vengeance upon the target. The more offensive that the target is in the eyes of your deity, the more effective the spell is. If the target is of the same alignment as your deity, or is a servant of your deity in good standing, the spell has no effect on the target at all.
If the target is of a different alignment than your deity, but is not opposed to the deity’s alignment on either axis (such as if the priest of a chaotic good deity cast this on a true neutral druid), and the target does not worship your deity, then the target takes 1d8 points of damage per two caster levels (to a maximum of 5d8 at 10th level).
If the target’s alignment is opposed to your deity’s alignment on one or more axes (such as if the priest of a chaotic good deity cast this on a chaotic evil cultist), or if the target worships a deity that is directly opposed to your deity, or if the target has specifically made himself an enemy of your deity (defiling your deity’s shrines, systematically attacking your deity’s servants, and so on), then the target takes 1d6 points of damage per caster level (to a maximum of 10d6 at 10th level). Additionally, if the target falls into this category, there is a 20% chance that the spell does not consume any favor points when cast.
At your GM’s discretion, certain targets may fall into different categories than normal, due to special, extenuating circumstances. If the target is an orc, and your deity hates orcs on principle, the spell may have its greater effect, even if the orc wouldn’t otherwise fall into that category. If the deity was particularly well-disposed towards orcs, the opposite might be true.
Tend to the Faithful
With this spell, you heal the target’s wounds, mending his flesh, and leaving him whole and healthy. The target immediately heals 3d8 hit points, plus an additional d8 for every two additional favor spent on the spell beyond its normal cost. If the target is a devout worshipper of your deity, he instead heals 5d8 hit points, plus an additional 1d8 for every point of favor spent on the spell beyond its normal cost.