Dragon 397 - Faith and Heresy

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DnDi_Large.pngDragon 397
Faith and Heresy

By Ken Hart and Jeff LaSala

Churches take a dim view of disobedience, and sometimes punish it harshly.

Talk about this Article here.


And there is the Cleric article promised..... was hoping for STR clerics.... or cleric powers. Cool fluff but mildly dissappointed.
"In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move."-Douglas Adams
Great fluff for the PoL setting.  I won't use it for my Dark Sun game, of course, but there's a lot of good flavor, here.

-O
Awesome flavor in this article, and as an old timer I really appreciate how it spells out the differences between the rules for 4e divinity and previous editions. I was hoping for some crunch, but the fluff here is so good I don't mind its absence. A lot of players play divine characters and I will be suggesting they read this article ASAP.  Thanks for the good read!
Good fluff. I would have appreciated suggestions for penitences against Heresy in an Unearthed Arcana instead or something perhaps.

But 1 Ritual that's it ?  Grrr.

A lot of players play divine characters and I will be suggesting they read this article ASAP.  Thanks for the good read!


And in turn, you'll have to be ready to punish them for their inevitable transgressions.  ;)
 
But 1 Ritual that's it ?


There were more, Plaguescarred, but alas our article was fairly longwinded. There's always trimming that has to be done.

Jeff LaSala / freelancer jefflasala.com

Wizards of the Coast:

The Darkwood Mask (The Inquisitives, Eberron)

DDI ("History Check: The Tarrasque," "History Check: Corellon and Gruumsh," "D&D Love Stories," "Faith & Heresy," etc.)

 

Blindsided Books:

Foreshadows: The Ghosts of Zero

 

A lot of players play divine characters and I will be suggesting they read this article ASAP.  Thanks for the good read!


And in turn, you'll have to be ready to punish them for their inevitable transgressions.  ;)
 
But 1 Ritual that's it ?


There were more, Plaguescarred, but alas our article was fairly longwinded. There's always trimming that has to be done.



Seeing as how the these aren't paper magazines, and the current "goal" is somewhat vauge and half of what the old goal was, I dont understand why trimming is an objective.
I did like the clear explanation that Radiant was not "good" magic. It was refreshing to see that.

I really enjoyed reading this article and its already inspired some ideas.  My favorite bit may be the forced march across a desert for penitent Pelorians.

Tim Eagon My DDI Articles.

DDEX2-8 Foulness Beneath Mulmaster

Follow me on Twitter @Tim_Eagon

 I dont understand why trimming is an objective.


Could really say.  I can be rather loquacious in my writing, so trust me, if I had my way, this article would have become a series of articles instead.    

In any case, that's more of an industry type topic.  Most DDI articles are given an approximate size they try to stick to.

Jeff LaSala / freelancer jefflasala.com

Wizards of the Coast:

The Darkwood Mask (The Inquisitives, Eberron)

DDI ("History Check: The Tarrasque," "History Check: Corellon and Gruumsh," "D&D Love Stories," "Faith & Heresy," etc.)

 

Blindsided Books:

Foreshadows: The Ghosts of Zero

 

Seeing as how the these aren't paper magazines, and the current "goal" is somewhat vauge and half of what the old goal was, I dont understand why trimming is an objective.


As a guess...

More mechanics = more stuff added to the Compendium and various Builders = more time and money spent developing (and also = more potential rules element bloat).

Not that I wouldn't like to see more mechanics, too, but mechanics are a lot more expensive than flavor text.

-O
That's true.  If you've kept up with some of the editorials and submission announcements, you'll see that often, more powers and feats aren't really what they're looking for these days. There are so many already.

New roleplaying angles, however (which basically means more fluff), are generally welcome.

Jeff LaSala / freelancer jefflasala.com

Wizards of the Coast:

The Darkwood Mask (The Inquisitives, Eberron)

DDI ("History Check: The Tarrasque," "History Check: Corellon and Gruumsh," "D&D Love Stories," "Faith & Heresy," etc.)

 

Blindsided Books:

Foreshadows: The Ghosts of Zero

 

Sadly, new roleplaying angles are not what a significant number of subscribers are looking for from Dragon.

I can come up with roleplaying angles on my own.  Indeed, it's one of the things I enjoy most about making a character, rather than just a build - it's what turns a build into a character, in fact.  It's one of the reasons I started playing D&D.  I can't, however, come up with legal mechanics on my own (I'm happy to write mechanics, but I currently play almost exclusively in LFR, so playtesting my homebrew classes isn't exactly an option).  I have to go to WotC for mechanics.  When little or nothing is provided in that area... well, my sub already lapsed, and it's not sounding like it's worth picking it up again this month.

Which is a shame, because it sounds like an interesting article.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
Anyway, I can't speak for WotC by any stretch. I only know what sort of material I'm interested in.  This is getting a bit off-topic.  Sorry! 

Jeff LaSala / freelancer jefflasala.com

Wizards of the Coast:

The Darkwood Mask (The Inquisitives, Eberron)

DDI ("History Check: The Tarrasque," "History Check: Corellon and Gruumsh," "D&D Love Stories," "Faith & Heresy," etc.)

 

Blindsided Books:

Foreshadows: The Ghosts of Zero

 

Sadly, new roleplaying angles are not what a significant number of subscribers are looking for from Dragon.

I can come up with roleplaying angles on my own.  Indeed, it's one of the things I enjoy most about making a character, rather than just a build - it's what turns a build into a character, in fact.  It's one of the reasons I started playing D&D.  I can't, however, come up with legal mechanics on my own (I'm happy to write mechanics, but I currently play almost exclusively in LFR, so playtesting my homebrew classes isn't exactly an option).  I have to go to WotC for mechanics.  When little or nothing is provided in that area... well, my sub already lapsed, and it's not sounding like it's worth picking it up again this month.

Which is a shame, because it sounds like an interesting article.

Space Invader, I respect your PoV but I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum.  Flavor and fluff have been the pieces most deperately missing from 4e so far, so I am rejoicing over the new editorial direction.  This article is smart and thought-provoking,and just what I am hoping to see more of.  My sub was close to lapsing, but content like this will keep me re-upping.
A lot of players play divine characters and I will be suggesting they read this article ASAP.  Thanks for the good read!


And in turn, you'll have to be ready to punish them for their inevitable transgressions.  ;)
 
But 1 Ritual that's it ?


There were more, Plaguescarred, but alas our article was fairly longwinded. There's always trimming that has to be done.



Seeing as how the these aren't paper magazines, and the current "goal" is somewhat vauge and half of what the old goal was, I dont understand why trimming is an objective.



They still pay by the word, don't they?
Sadly, new roleplaying angles are not what a significant number of subscribers are looking for from Dragon.

I can come up with roleplaying angles on my own.  Indeed, it's one of the things I enjoy most about making a character, rather than just a build - it's what turns a build into a character, in fact.  It's one of the reasons I started playing D&D.  I can't, however, come up with legal mechanics on my own (I'm happy to write mechanics, but I currently play almost exclusively in LFR, so playtesting my homebrew classes isn't exactly an option).  I have to go to WotC for mechanics.  When little or nothing is provided in that area... well, my sub already lapsed, and it's not sounding like it's worth picking it up again this month.

Which is a shame, because it sounds like an interesting article.

Space Invader, I respect your PoV but I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum.  Flavor and fluff have been the pieces most deperately missing from 4e so far, so I am rejoicing over the new editorial direction.  This article is smart and thought-provoking,and just what I am hoping to see more of.  My sub was close to lapsing, but content like this will keep me re-upping.


I agree.
Seeing as how the these aren't paper magazines, and the current "goal" is somewhat vauge and half of what the old goal was, I dont understand why trimming is an objective.

They still pay by the word, don't they?


Bingo.  Saving "paper" was never a significant objective in magazines.  The main cost is paying the writers and artists.
Thanks for the feedback on the article so far! In writing it, Jeff and I wanted to present some (dare we say) heretical thinking about how disobedient clerics could work in 4E and to inspire some thinking on new ways to portray faith.
Ken Hart: occasional rhyming warlock, full-time writer Wizards of the Coast: – Dungeon 197, "A Knight in Shadowghast Manor" – Dragon 402, "History Check: Kas and Vecna" – Dragon 398, "Unearthed Arcana: Ignorance is Blessed" Other: – Foreshadows: The Ghosts of Zero Twitter / Blog
Speculation on my my part, but another thing is readability. You don't want too many pages because readers are expecting an article and not a book. It also forces the author, developer and editor to give it more thought on whether the words are superfluos or not.

(For LFR adventures there are three other reasons as well, namely people still print the adventures, pages with one paragraph of text (sometimes just two lines) are ugly, and often authors add details that have nothing to do with the adventure and will just tie down the hands of DMs and future authors writing in the region*. I am not sure these reasons apply to Dragon articles though.)

* It being a shared campaign world.
Wow, fantastic article.  I've never wanted to play a Cleric or anything Divine, even a little bit.  The creative space seemed way to confining to me.  But now I see those boundaries are really just opportunity for telling stories!  I'm suddenly chomping at the bit to play divine characters!  Here are a few thoughts off the top of my head:


  • A pragmatic cleric of Pelor who comes to believe that gods are just like mortals, only stronger.  This belief only strengthens his feeling that it is important to support the nice gods, because they have our backs.  His intention is merely to help other faith-challenged followers connect with the gods in a helpful way, but his teachings may cause a lot more ripples than he would like.

  • An Invoker of Ioun comes to realize that the part of the god within him does not align with the dogmatic teachings of the clergy of the pantheon.  Ioun yearns to dispel superstitious beliefs in infallible gods and replace them with informed understanding.  Will the hero embrace his destiny as a new prophet of Ioun?  Could it be that the hero is Ioun incarnate, ironically cast out of his own church?

  • A young man is brought up in a dark sanctum of a dark god, taught the powers of a Blackguard.  But when his family is destroyed, he becomes disenchanted with the self-destructive nature of the god.  But he has a secret: gods will conform to the nature of their worship.  So he sets about spreading the benevolent worship of the dark dog in an effort to force the god to change.  (Notice the word FORCE here, very Blackguardy.)  But the young Blackguard's old friends will not take too kindly to this idea, not at all.

Goken100.  Dude, that's music to my hears. 
 I've never wanted to play a Cleric or anything Divine, even a little bit.  The creative space seemed way to confining to me.  But now I see those boundaries are really just opportunity for telling stories!  I'm suddenly chomping at the bit to play divine characters!

That's why we enjoyed writing this article, precisely the reaction we love to see. 

While I've always liked clerics—and always knowing that they were never a player's favorite, even though everyone else wants one around (being walking first aid kits)—I never really had a drive to play one.  But delving into this topic, I found I loved the idea of taking a different spin. You can be a cleric and yet hardly resemble one, if played right, and all well within the boundaries of the class.

And it all boiled down to the fact that in 4E, a cleric doesn't lose his powers no matter what he does. How interesting. 

Those are some great ideas you've got there, too.  I especially like your blackguard idea.

Jeff LaSala / freelancer jefflasala.com

Wizards of the Coast:

The Darkwood Mask (The Inquisitives, Eberron)

DDI ("History Check: The Tarrasque," "History Check: Corellon and Gruumsh," "D&D Love Stories," "Faith & Heresy," etc.)

 

Blindsided Books:

Foreshadows: The Ghosts of Zero

 

I LOVED this article, save for a couple things.  I didn't like most of the example Heresies.  I felt some were pushing it (like the Corellon heretical doctrine sounded all well and good, but suddenly WHAM it allows them to justify becoming Liches?), and others felt like they didn't go far enough.  Avandra, Melora, and Erathis' ones were great.  But some just didn't do it for me.  But these were only examples to get the creative juices flowing.  It's a good article, and those qualms I have with it don't undermine the success of the article.

I loved all the side-panels.  This article really defined what it means to be a Cleric to me, and to some extent, what it means to be a Divine character.  Too bad Runepriests were forgotten when listing the other Divine classes though. ;_ ;

This is how it always should be.  The DM should never give Rollplaying penalties for a character breaking alignment, EVEN FOR THE CAVALIER AND THE BLACKGUARD, who specifically have to be certain alignments.  Instead, give Roleplaying penalties.  The alignment break, and the doctrine break, these are things that should enhance the game, rather than punish the player.  It becomes something the entire party is involved in, rather than something that makes it unfun for the Paladin or Cleric or whatnot.

That said, players allowing their characters to be chaotic evil jerks or evil maniacs should probably have a talking to if you're playing within the standard assumptions of a Good campaign, with LG, G, and U heroes.  It becomes too disruptive otherwise.  But a Lawful Good Cavalier with the Virtue of Sacrifice that starts doing questionable acts… this is a chance to affirm his/her faith, to put the character and his/her companions through trials, possibly fighting even other Cavaliers who see the character as on the road to becoming a Blackguard.  If the player wants, s/he could retrain as a Cavalier of Valour, but the DM should allow the Cavalier to keep his or her powers as s/he desires.  But it's not something that shouldn't be felt by the game.  If you're playing a Cavalier of Sacrifice, you're doing it because you care about Alignment, and you want it to be a roleplaying focus.  So the plot and fun should be enhanced by this stumble or fall from grace, rather than a "you lose your powers; you suck now; you got killed by that Kobold; roll up a new hero and join us next week."  That's too easy, and just damn frustrating.  There are other, more creative ways, and this article talks about them in the context of Clerical Heresy. 

I love it!

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

IMAGE(http://images.onesite.com/community.wizards.com/user/marandahir/thumb/9ac5d970f3a59330212c73baffe4c556.png?v=90000)

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

Too bad Runepriests were forgotten when listing the other Divine classes though. ;_ ;


Sure they get mentioned!  You just might not have noticed cause it was spelled C-L-E-R-I-C.

*kicks the Runepriest some more for good measure*
Sorry, couldn't resist.  I'm guessing the Runepriest is one of those classe that WotC noticed wasn't getting much play, and therefore won't be getting much spotlight.  As some have hinted, the creative direction of the PH3 seems to have been replaced with the less exclusive sub-class model introduced in Essentials.  I'm seeing more and more how useful that is, and not needing to call out an endless list of classes when introducing flavor is just one advantage.

I LOVED this article, save for a couple things.  I didn't like most of the example Heresies.  I felt some were pushing it (like the Corellon heretical doctrine sounded all well and good, but suddenly WHAM it allows them to justify becoming Liches?)



Baelnorns!

Tim Eagon My DDI Articles.

DDEX2-8 Foulness Beneath Mulmaster

Follow me on Twitter @Tim_Eagon

I LOVED this article, save for a couple things.  I didn't like most of the example Heresies.  I felt some were pushing it (like the Corellon heretical doctrine sounded all well and good, but suddenly WHAM it allows them to justify becoming Liches?)



Baelnorns!



Who to the what now?
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Undead_(Dungeons_%26_Dragons)#Baelnorn
Oh, thanks wikipedia!  Actually that sounds pretty darn cool.

But 1 Ritual that's it ?  Grrr.



1 Ritual tested by R&D.

But 1 Ritual that's it ?  Grrr.



1 Ritual tested by R&D.



It's a ritual that gives a mechanical underpinning to something that was previously done through role-playing. I'm disappointed with it because it implies that you need to use it in order to change the deity that you worship. Before, you could change your deity as it fit the story (at which point any previous Channel Divinity feats would stop working, and you could retrain them per the normal rules). More disappointing is the fact that the ritual won't allow you to retrain things which aren't capable of being retrained by the normal rules, such as paragon path or epic destiny. If you previously worshiped the Raven Queen and took one of her paragon paths, too bad - you're stuck with an illegal paragon path and gain no benefits from it. If you're going to give a new ritual, have it do something that couldn't be done before.


As it is, any divine PC with the ability to create scrolls can just make a scroll and hand it off to another divine PC to perform. The restriction of not being able to perform it on yourself just means that you need another divine PC, which is pretty bleh.

Herid_Fel, thanks for the feedback. The Reordination ritual doesn't invalidate anything that's in existence with clerics and 4E. In fact, this ritual accentuates the importance of role-playing. (This article partially owes in existence to the short shrift that many players have given 4E clerics when it comes to perceiving their role-playing potential. Jeff and I were determined to highlight potential creative advantages of role-playing a divine PC and to avoid converting good roleplaying into mechanics.)

For instance, take "Before, you could change your deity as it fit the story (at which point any previous Channel Divinity feats would stop working, and you could retrain them per the normal rules)." That's still true and totally available to anyone playing a divine PC who wants to retrain to swap out Channel Divinity feats the way one of us might choose pancakes instead of French toast for breakfast at a diner. 

For a divine PC, though, the chosen Channel Divinity feats should ideally have spiritual significance. And the Reordination ritual is intended to reward the player and DM who embrace the role-playing potential of a character going through a massive religious change or challenge. As written, it should be the culmination of a grand spiritual journey for the character, and a great roleplaying opportunity for the player and hopefully the entire gaming group.

If viewed merely from a technical standpoint, it at leaves gives the divine PC an opportunity outside of retraining to swap out a feat. But hopefully, it'll be used as part of a bigger story.

Lastly, I understand your point about "illegal paragon path." Consider, however, the reaction on these boards if Dragon were to present a ritual that allowed certain (but not all) character classes to replace a feat, a paragon path, and all the abilities and class features of that paragon path in one shot. If you've got good players and a good DM who wouldn't exploit that, then I encourage you to make that a "house rule" addendum to our Reordination ritual. But understand why it might not be a good idea to add such a potentially game-breaking ritual to the Character Generator.  Smile

Best wishes,
Ken
Ken Hart: occasional rhyming warlock, full-time writer Wizards of the Coast: – Dungeon 197, "A Knight in Shadowghast Manor" – Dragon 402, "History Check: Kas and Vecna" – Dragon 398, "Unearthed Arcana: Ignorance is Blessed" Other: – Foreshadows: The Ghosts of Zero Twitter / Blog
I LOVED this article, save for a couple things.  I didn't like most of the example Heresies.  I felt some were pushing it (like the Corellon heretical doctrine sounded all well and good, but suddenly WHAM it allows them to justify becoming Liches?)



Baelnorns!




I always thought, though, that Baelnorns were accepted in Eladrin society and by the Church of Corellon.  @_@

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

IMAGE(http://images.onesite.com/community.wizards.com/user/marandahir/thumb/9ac5d970f3a59330212c73baffe4c556.png?v=90000)

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

Far more interesting than I would have anticipated for a 99 percent fluff article revolving around divine characters.  Of course, the catch is that it revolved around divine characters, not gods, which made it more accessible to people who run in game worlds without gods, like myself.

Still, I would have liked a little more crunch, but that's just my personal PoV.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Far more interesting than I would have anticipated for a 99 percent fluff article revolving around divine characters.  Of course, the catch is that it revolved around divine characters, not gods, which made it more accessible to people who run in game worlds without gods, like myself.

Still, I would have liked a little more crunch, but that's just my personal PoV.



Heh, I would like to see a divine article without gods. More mysticism and philosophy.
Did anyone notice that the ritual doesn't specify that the target has to be willing? That leads up to all sorts of opportunities for brainwashing cults, or even a way to turn a target's own church against them. Seems like the kind of thing Asmodeus or Lolth would do.
I suppose that's mostly true, Alevar, but there's still this:


In most cases, the candidate for reordination is expected to complete a quest to prove
his or her commitment to the new faith before the ritual is used.



Which, quest aside, strongly implies, at minimum, cooperation from the subject. Laughing 
This is definitely a ritual for DM's to introduce and dispense as necessary for the campaign, not the kind of thing one just randomly encounters on a scroll in a dungeon somewhere. Each Reordination ritual is one unique to its faith.

Jeff LaSala / freelancer jefflasala.com

Wizards of the Coast:

The Darkwood Mask (The Inquisitives, Eberron)

DDI ("History Check: The Tarrasque," "History Check: Corellon and Gruumsh," "D&D Love Stories," "Faith & Heresy," etc.)

 

Blindsided Books:

Foreshadows: The Ghosts of Zero

 

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