Sunday, January 4, 2015

Clerical Amateur Sage Abilities

In accordance with the goal of this post, I am happy to say I've completed (more or less) the list of amateur skills that a cleric in my world has the potential to possess. These are gained according to the details on this page, which also lists the 18 possible studies that a cleric is able to pursue (directly or indirectly, according to my rules.

What follows is a complete list of amateur abilities, with links to the wiki:

  • Aid Rest: increases hit points restored from rest. (medicine)
  • Beast Forms: allows recognition and identification of beasts, with some knowledge of the dangers they present. (beasts)
  • Binding Wounds: improves skill at ending hit point damage caused by wounds. (medicine)
  • Burial: the magical protection of a corpse, denying forces of evil to make use of the body in the grave. (ritual)
  • Business Dealing: the ability to make sound business contracts that will safely benefit both parties. (law & policy)
  • Celestial Navigation: identify location on the surface of the earth or measure any angle between two visible objects using a sextant. (astronomy & astrology)
  • Choose Prognostication: allows insight in choosing the best divination method. (divination)
  • Define Morality: gives the character perfect knowledge of whether a circumstance or action is right or wrong. (gods)
  • Diagnose Ailment: identifies a disease or poison affecting the patient's health; does not provide treatment. (medicine)
  • Essence: provides a general illustration of the known outer plane. (outer planes)
  • Functionary: choose a position of responsibility within the known political entity. (politics)
  • Heraldic Code: permits understanding of the code and rules within heraldry. (heraldry)
  • History of Empire: presents an overview of great civilizations throughout the world and throughout history. (history)
  • Identify Artifact: determines if a given object is or is not a magical artifact. (artifacts)
  • Identify Manifestation: allows knowledge of encountered manifestations and their influence. (dweomercraft)
  • Immersion: strengthens a character's belief, empowering them to pursue knowledge within their chosen faith. (ritual)
  • Judge Belief: defines the piety of others. (gods)
  • Know Deity: identify or recognize the presence of a given demi-god through imagery or influence. (demi-gods)
  • Military Studies: presents a clear grasp of events surrounding wars in the past, as well as conveying some insight into enemy tactics. (history)
  • Marriage: binds together two believers in the eyes of a religion, empowering them when in each other's company. (ritual)
  • Patronage: enables the location of artists worthy of financial support and commissions. (religious art & music)
  • Preach: the power to deliver a sermon, influencing an audience to adopt moral truth, right conduct and worthy leadership. (faith)
  • Proselytize: the skill to speak with others and encourage them to adopt the cleric's faith. (faith)
  • Recognize Heavens: ability to identify individual stars, constellations, planets and other phenomenon. (astronomy & astrology)
  • Recognize Hero: allows recognition of great persons and celebrities. (heroes)
  • Recognition of Signs I: permits recognition of heraldry, signs & sigils relating to monarchs, emperors, high ranking religious leaders and heroes. (heraldry)
  • Religious History: provides some practical knowledge into the wax and wane of religions throughout history and insight into their strengths and weaknesses. (history)
  • Ritual Slaughter: knowledge of the correct practice in slaughtering creatures for sacrifice and divination. (divination)
  • Schmooze: make friends and allies, gain knowledge and provide for the exchange of agreed-upon favors. (politics)
  • Seek Shrines: enables the location of shrines, graveyards, crypts, hallowed places and other holy locations. (religious design)
  • Solicitor: sufficient knowledge of the legal system needed to give meaningful advice to others. (law & policy)
  • Sphere of Influence: knowledge of a demi-god's form and extent of influence. (demi-gods)
  • Standard Bearer: offers greater resolve to fellow combatants during battle. (heraldry)
  • Studied Artifacts: a list of artifacts about which the character possesses knowledge. (artifacts)
  • Studied Beasts: a list of unusual beasts about which the character possesses knowledge. (beasts)
  • Studied Heroes: a list of heroes about whom the character possesses knowledge. (heroes)
  • Telescope Making I: a discipline enabling the character to manufacture effective mounted telescopes. (astronomy & astrology)
  • Theistic Design I: enables the player to identify and recognize elements of religious design. (religious design)
  • Theistic Expression: enables the player to identify and recognize elements of religious art & music. (religious art & music)
  • Transmogrification: provides an explanation elaborating on how living, become the dead, become residents of a known outer plane. (outer planes)
  • Turn Undead: the ability of clerics to force back undead through knowledge and will. (dweomercraft)

There, that should keep the reader busy for a little while.  Finally, I have one of these in the bag.  Druid next (finishing off the work I did on the work blog).


  1. I wanted to address your point in the latest post about not getting any comments. Some thinking brings me to these points:

    (A) You're working constantly on elements of the game the average DM doesn't care about, has not or cannot conceive of, or actively opposes as "not fun."

    (B) Even your unfinished ideas, with calls for us to critique and take apart, are usually more detailed than what any of us has arrived at.

    (C) You have wide-ranging knowledge, a long history of blog posts on many D&D topics, and a reputation for shutting down, with various levels of angriness, those who make the same old tired arguments or who fail to do their homework before commenting. (This one doesn't dissuade me personally but for those with less time to look up old posts or sit down and ruminate, it can be a killer.)

    Add these up and the result is that unless I think I have a solid point, I don't say anything. My most frequent reaction to a new Tao post is "wow, that's really cool; if my passion for the game resurges, that's one more thing I'll want to think about; I'll probably never be satisfied doing it the old way." There's no reason to write that on every single post.

    I comment as often as I want to, but I try to avoid posting something if it's just going to be talking about how much I like it and so on. Would you prefer that I (or others) do so?

    I can probably rewrite this again ... or I could go try and restart my D&D brain for the umpteenth time. The latter would do a lot more for me.

  2. (One more point: is it shallow just to go "wow that's cool, more please Alexis" for many of your posts? Sure. Is your blog the only thing demanding my hard work and thinking? No. Commenting critically on every post that impresses me would be a part-time job with no pay. I'd rather go implement them for my D&D world and that's when I'm actually running.)

    Here's something about sage skills: I think sage skills and the trade/price tables (and the maps, which are related to those somewhat) are the best fucking parts of your whole big endeavor. They do exactly what shitty railroader non-hard-working DMs do: pin down the world firmly so that players can (as you have written) not just play but WORK in the world, and be able to predict the outcome of such and such action. Sage skills do this by providing solid real no-bullshitting, no-"questions per day", no-"magic 8 ball" information on the "knowledge landscape" of the game world. They're maps for things that aren't geography, which is why they're Good. Ditto trade tables: they're Good the way maps are, but they do it for money and goods: which in turn leads to understanding of in-world investment, shipping, fucking fiscal policy, building and construction, equpping armies, the list goes on an on.

    These and other constructs are the big nail in the coffin, the big middle finger to all the "theories" of DMing that insist on keeping players in the dark, on hiding information, on secrets, on vagueness, on etc. etc. etc. Those are all the methods of people who don't want to think/work hard on what is actually going on in their world (if their incoherent slap-dashes can even be called a world and not just a stage.)

  3. Hah hah hah hah . . .

    So, what you're saying is, I'm the only mean, crotchety, miserable bastard on the internet that people are unwilling to troll.

    I'm sorry, Max - I did think better of that comment, thought of taking it down as cheap and unworthy of me. I was just so gawdDAMNED proud of finishing that - I wanted stupidly to show and tell.

    Just as you don't want to say 'wow,' I don't want to lift my nose and remain aloof.

    Well, you smile and I'll smile and it will all be good.

  4. Wow... that's an impressive list of abilities. I'm not certain that I have the attention to detail to use that in a game I run directly, but the abilities themselves are all things that a cleric should feel their character could try. So perhaps I'd give this list to a cleric and say "here are some cleric abilities" and use them as rules for things they try with the DC varying based upon their background and in-game play.

    Anyway, just having all of the abilities thought out with corresponding descriptions and rules is fantastic.

    I can't imagine how long all of that took! Thanks.


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