Dragon 387 - Channel Divinity: Pelor

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DnDi_Large.png    Dragon 387
Channel Divinity: Pelor
The Students of Aurtus

By Craig Campbell

Today's Dragon article discusses the oft-forgotten aspect of Pelor's ministry – the domain of Time.  The Students of Aurtus organisation invokes this element, and there are a few feats (including a power-swap), as well as a magic weapon. 

Talk about this article here.

Before posting, why not ask yourself, What Would Wrecan Say?


A great man once said "If WotC put out boxes full of free money there'd still be people complaining about how it's folded." – Boraxe

This is a pretty interesting article. It's a bit shorter on knowledge of Pelor himself than what I was looking for, but it provides a different way of looking at him that I will definitely incorporate into my campaigns should I get a chance to play. It makes Pelor more than just a benevolence or sun deity.

The Time connection is a bit thin, though; it seems to me as though he's described as more of a knowledge deity here than a time deity. Though if the Students of Aurtus are an indication, he does a damn good job of it.

I also find it interesting that you worked the Students of Aurtus into Fallcrest's history; it adds more flavor to a town that every DM in 4e is familiar with.

Good work, Mr. Campbell.
I like the flavor of the article, and while a bit more crunch would be nice, I like the concepts of the ones we got. Though the wordings seemed rather cumbersome - which might be inevitable, given the level of timing most of them are based about, but reading something like "gain a +2 power bonus to the first damage roll on your next attack with this weapon against the same target before the end of your next turn" started to make my head spin! Even though it was perfectly clear what it did, it felt like there should have been an easier way to write it.
See It Coming is worded terribly. "When a creature flanking you hits you" implies that you grant combat advantage to an enemy flanking you, UNTIL he hits you from a flanking position, at which point you do not grant CA until the end of your next turn -- which means the effect will expire before the attacker's next turn comes up.
See It Coming is worded terribly. "When a creature flanking you hits you" implies that you grant combat advantage to an enemy flanking you, UNTIL he hits you from a flanking position, at which point you do not grant CA until the end of your next turn -- which means the effect will expire before the attacker's next turn comes up.

Yeah, the conclusion I reached was that if you get hit by an enemy who is flanking you, you then don't suffer flanking from other enemies for the next round (of which there is at least one, on the other side of the flank.) But I can't tell if the intent was to help against the original flanking attack itself. If not, I think extending the duration would be good - if the flanking enemy goes right before you, as it is, it will be completely useless. Given it is a conditional situation to begin with, that's no good.
I enjoyed the story of this article, as well as its taking a unique stance on the iconic sun deity in the D&D mythology. The teachings of Aurtus have a much more realistic feel to their dogma then the usual "sun worshipper," their learning from the past having a relevance to the lives of the people they protect. I felt like the story would have benefited more from a discussion of some specific "mistakes of the past" Aurtus made, as well as the sort of mistakes the order seeks to circumvent. It's kind of generic now, and a few more concrete details would lead DMs to use them as hooks for adventures.

I am not sure about the feats; they're OK but could be more stylishly named, and the "Learning Weapon" is almost identical to Adventurer's Vault's "Inescapable Weapon". Something tied more to the idea of learning from a mistake during a battle would have been more unique (such as gaining a bonus against an enemy if you save against one of their powers).  Had the author had a higher word count, I bet there would have been lots more Pelorian items and relics to enjoy. All in all a pretty interesting read!
Memory of Strikes Past is the feat name.
Memory is a Weapon is the feat utility power name.
Should be one or the other.

And what is the intent of "See it COming"?
As discussed above, does it grant the flanking but not the rest of the Combat advantage bonuses that the attacker has, like extra damage, or such, OR does it not effect this attack at all, and it is meant for the next attack against it?
The way I read it, the monster gains a +2 to attack for flanking, once it hits, the feat activates, and the monster only gets to do regular damage, not the extra sneak attack damage, or whatever it does. And that lasts until the end of your next turn, though it doesn't matter, becasue if something else flanked and hit you, then it would start up again. Which sounds redundant and makes me think maybe my interpretation is wrong.
Viva La "what ever version of D&D you are playing right now!"
Craig Campbell, the author here,

The feat vs. power naming thing is a matter of following examples. Previous feats which provide a replacement power have had the feat and power have different names.

Regarding "See it Coming", the intent was that after the first flanker hits and deals damage, enemies don't get flanking against you until the end of your next turn. In retrospect, the feat could more concisely have been worded, "When a creature flanking you hits you and deals damage..." The idea is that once you've taken that hit while being flanked, you're more wary and see the next few attacks (of that nature) coming, including the upcoming attack of the first attacker's flank buddy.

As a generalist feat, it's not that good, true. But for a build that focuses on being in the middle of a bunch of baddies a lot of the time, I think it could be quite useful, a lot of the time. I didn't try to design a feat that would be a charop guru's dream. I went for a feat with a flavor that would help the right characters.

The association to the "time" domain is one of learning from the past to prepare for the future, right now in the present. I think it's a pretty strong representation of "time" as a theme. Yes, Ioun is all about history, but without the forward-thinking and focus on helping those in need to which the Students of Aurtus aspire.

Craig, if I'm understanding you correctly here, you're saying that the Students of Aurtus don't just watch over time or observe it, they use that knowledge to help others the way Pelor would want them to.

I apologize for my inability to understand earlier; I have never encountered a fictional time deity that was proactive or helpful.

Wow, just saw the awesome art by Sarah Stone!

It depicts well the Cleric as a mage, a wielder of marvels, rather that as a warrior, a wielder of maces. The mage is totally cool.

Being a Divine mage makes the concept even more interesting.