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I recently ran across a Planescape resource book called: TSR 2623 On Hallowed Ground, which provides a very nice and detailed description of ALL of the different known deities in the multi-verse and their religions. Not suprisingly it includes some info on Clerics and Specialty Priests.


There are a couple of passages (among a multitude) that I feel may be helpful. This may already be known info, but hopefully it will help.



Clerics and Specialty Priests




Some folks still muddle the line between priests and clerics. Actually, they both fall under the banner of "priest," administering to a flock of the faithful and serving the needs of their powers. But the real difference is in focus. A specialty priest throws in with one particular god, while a cleric tries to keep a more open mind.


That is, a cleric worships a cause, a pantheon, or one deity first and a group second. They're the common priests of most cultures, the ones who uphold a single tenet but support others equally. For example, a dwarf cleric might reserve special praise for Clangeddin Silverbeard while still offering prayers to the other gods of the pantheon. And he's not trying to have his cake and eat it too -- he holds all the gods dear, even those deities with whom he personally disagrees.


A cleric can choose from a huge range of spells, drawing on the strengths of his gods to aid him in many different situations. He has minor access to the elemental sphere and major access to the rest (excepting only the animal, plant, and weather spheres.) A cleric also has the ability to turn undead, which many specialty priests forfeit. Simply put, he's sustained by his belief in the entire pantheon and well-liked by the whole group. Thus, he can find aid among priests of the other powers (most of 'em anyway,) and is welcome almost anywhere the pantheon holds sway.


Specialty Priests


A specialty priest, on the other hand, follows and upholds the tenants of only one power. He undergoes rigorous tests to determine his aptitude for that particular brand of priesthood. Once accepted, he works only toward advancing the glory of his god and no other. He might cooperate with priests of the rest of the pantheon, but he won't venerate the other powers.


For his single-minded devotion, he's granted special abilities to use in furthering the cause (which vary depending on the power.) For example, a specialty priest may be able to use edged weapons (depending on what his deity favors,) and may be able to break rules that bind the clerics of his religion. He's one of the god's chosen, and he knows it. As a proselytizer of the faith, he rarely sits at home, but is instead expected to spread the word.


Unfortunately, he sacrifices a few benefits granted to clerics -- for instance, most specialty priests can't turn undead. What's more, while he's beloved of his chosen deity, he's less than adored by the rest of the pantheon. Thus, he can expect aid only from his brethern. He might receive it from priests of like-minded gods. He'll be lucky to get a nod from any of the others. And when a specialty priest leaves the home realm, he's welcomed only among folks who think the way he does (or among clerics who've made his god their primary choice.) Other servants of the pantheon see him as a snob and treat him with disdain.








Note, that some of this is reflecting the Planescape setting, but I think that with a bit of editting the Cleric section would do nicely as a class description for the Cleric archtype. If at some time a menu choice is given for Specialty Priest, then the second section could be used for that sub-type.

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