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Defenders of the Faith for D&D – Saints to some, heretics to others.

©-Note by author Andrè M. Pietroschek: private use for non-profit roleplay


granted to all readers, all other rights reserved. Making money with my
ideas remains expressively forbidden, until I get my share.

I contemplated two ways to attempt this. First, playing the smart-mouth


(wanna-be) trying to outmatch the rulebooks where any mistakes makes
one look double as idiotic. It wouldn't help to reach my goal here. Second,
the attempt to use the rulebook as it is, to make easy application and
understanding of the idea and concept possible to all roleplayers who know
the basic D&D.

Idiotic to work out an exclusive prestige class I would label in example:

● Renaming feats, claiming they are your unique idea. This is crucial,
especially for a lot of authors inspire me to write again instead of
reading them. I wouldn't have believed how much they lack
knowledge of the books as experience how those are used. Or so it
seemed to me.
● Inventing feats, abilities or classes, which the official product line
already includes. Same on races, if it just looks different, it is a sub
race and a minor change of stat boni does really not make another
“my special race” dabbling necessary.
● Classes. Around fifty percent (I mean 99% but don't admit it for being
diplomatic) are complete bullshit. They are nothing that the standard
classes do not get done as well, or often even better. Understand the
rulebook before you try to outmatch it?
● Complete incompetence when it comes to team play. That's a serious
deficiency when it comes to pen & paper role-playing games. I don't
tell you why for I intend to partake in “Dark Secrets of game guiding –
the wicked schemes of D&D game-masters as the game-mistresses”
or some such.

Of course with 15 years of field experience, an average of two roleplays per


week guided or joined by me in those years, I should make sure that I fulfil
myself all the four points above. That's quite a spiritual truth among our
kind, not even the best of us is ever really perfect. Yet some of us are damn
good and deserve their due.

Michael Mearls did quite a nice work on the “Crusading footpad” in his
“The quintessential rogue”. I playtested the idea when I found certain ...
Andrè be friendly, lie again, they don't want to realize how obvious their
own mistakes are... minor and not really important breaches in the humble
application of D&D rules. Or something similar.
Maybe I just want a more simple solution which does not need the game
guides to re-write half of the books they bought for any player who thinks a
prestige class replaces him or her seeing a competent therapist.

Mistakes obvious to me:

● Undead are by far not the only evil creatures and not only good has
faith and religion.
● Feats which are half-heartedly pasted in make no sense, it is our task
to write them until the majority of players gets the meaning within
the first 10 minutes.
● A prestige class either works to focus even more (like the weapon
master) or to gift more flexibility (like blackguard may bring magic to
fighters, or pale master helps mages to survive the average angry
goblin with a club). Goblins rulez! Of course.

Concept: The defender of the faith should be handled as exclusive prestige


class. The defender of the faith is never ever combined with any other
prestige class. The defender of the faith is defined first, foremost and
simplified all by his or her faith. Not knowledge_religion but Faith, which is
the one skill which starts with this prestige class. Defender of the faith is
not a job or field of study at university. It's about some people succumbing
where others restrain from vice, zeal or hubris.

This prestige class is open to all races and all classes (including NPC
classes like commoner, merchant or citizen) which are capable of believing
in a higher power (from self-regulating ability of the universe to personified
deity). The cliché Celtic warrior could be as much a defender of the faith as
the Egyptian cleric of Set (because the others always quote this boring
Osiris, Horus & Isis hogwash). A Christian peasant following the “deus
vult” call is surely not a paladin, yet many paladin players could learn from
the faithful peasantry quite a lot about dedication, self-reliance and why
dabbling is not all it needs to gain some holy powers in my humble opinion.
Same on Muslims, though I seem to have few readers who come from that
cultures or religion. Now the Satanist who opposes the Christian god, could
be as much a defender of the faith.

So it is not a club or guild to join for party & profit. Defenders of the faith
usually come into existence when the competition launches one of those
overwhelming assaults which brings the nice, rarely appreciated gifts of
atrocities and suffering to the victims. It's an adult concept, no attempt to
make anybody a paladin. Remember that realms like Ravenloft have more
need for such a prestige class.

Or that there it can even increase the atmosphere or give a good reason
why a party forms and cooperates instead of running away.
Faith as a Skill: When one becomes a defender of the faith (should find a
shorter name), at first level of this prestige class this class-skill is set by
rolling 2d4. Take the higher result as the skill rank for Faith (ergo a
maximum of 4 ranks at level 1). The only need of this class-skill is you or
game guide roll it whenever no other skill would make sense in playing a
defender of the faith or when the unique feats I try to define cannot be
rolled with normal skills. The skill must be raised with at least 1 point on
each level gain in this prestige class. Base it on Charisma or Wisdom.

Table Time:

Prerequisites: I could say +4 base attack and skill ranks in... as the
following feats. That is not true. A defender of the faith becomes a defender
of the faith the moment a character decides to do it. Defending the faith
when there is need has more meaning to my approach then reading a book
about theology. There were illiterate yokels who never went to church, yet
living faithful as there were corrupted clerics lacking any competence
except making pedophiles or schizophrenic dabblers posture as holy
people. For gaming purposes, let's guess one should have 3 levels in the
primary class? Or the strong soul feat?

Skill -Points for a defender of the Faith: Handle them as if levels in the
prestige class give the same number of points you would gain in your
primary character class.

Skills: The same as in your primary class, no amnesia or change by logic.


Plus appendix?

Armour & Weapons: Same as your primary class, gain a weapon focus
though! I decided that strong faith is most suiting the Will save so it gets
highest priority here. This will be a nice way to balance certain classes,
while others grow stronger. Further remember, that i.e. a monk class
character does not get his +3 monk save & +3 defender of faith points! If
your primary class saving throw bonus is lower you get the bonus from
table.
Otherwise the bonus only grows on proper level, so the monk example here
would grow from it's +3 to +4 when making the 4th level as a defender of the
faith, or making levels until a monk gets it in the own primary class.

Feats like strong soul or bull-headed work as usual for they have nothing
to do with the character class, they are individual.

Base Attack:

What is true about other class based boni remains true. If your base attack
is at +4 as a fighter, you either have to make more levels as a fighter or
become defender of the faith level 5 to gain the +5 base attack. Sounds
dumb? Some players added both of them all the time.

While the defender of the faith does not gain bonus attacks, they are
comparably good with the one attack per round they can make. If you are a
fighter with two attacks, you have the higher bonus as handled by most
game guides. You won't lose feats or benefits by joining a prestige class.
Usually.

Feats: Only those gained under feats & innate abilities on the table above.
For other feats continue your life in your primary character class.

Bless weapon. This feat will be continuous, improving. At level one a


defender of the faith can bless a weapon of his or her choice, making it deal
holy damage and being considered a +1 weapon as with the cleric spell of
equal name. Some speak prayers, some pray silently, others yell about
wrath and darkness. Anyway a defender of faith can do this once per day.
On level 4 it will be possible twice per day, giving 1d6 additional holy (the
good)/negative (the evil)/magical(druidism as neutral) damage and being
considered a +3 weapon. And so forth. Game guides usually know how to
handle it.

Blessed. This feat will be continuous, improving. The character is under


effect of a blessing permanently. Choose a cleric spell equal in level to the
level in this prestige class. It works until you lose your faith. On deathbed
you can bless your successor of choice. Example: On level one a spell like
bless may work on you until you lose your faith. On level two or three (have
no rulebook around) you could say its the effect of a chant as described
under cleric spells. Don't overdose it.

Lay on Hands: Healing as the paladin spell once per prestige class level
each day. May heal self or same aligned others on game guide decision?
Sense Undead: Make an intuit direction roll with your faith skill to become
aware of undead. Remember even an evil necromancer looks like food to
ghouls jumping from ambush. Zombies never complained about a Druids
taste either.

Shrouded Soul: Mortals can no longer read you (Sense Motive) or your
alignment or use divination without problems. Same on scrying & spying
spells and rituals. Per 5 ranks in faith skill the difficulty of such rolls is
raised by 1d4. The gods or nature (the source of your faith) shields you
from watchful eyes of the enemy and the curious & so forth (et cetera).

Sense enemies of thy faith: A defender of the faith knows they can't
eradicate all the opposition in the world on their own. Rolling faith as skill
like intuit direction the defender knows (by DC range upwards): I improvise
here with no rulebook at hand
● DC 12 If there are enemies of his or her faith around.
● DC 16 Roughly how intense the presence is (how much danger)
● DC 20 What intent the enemies of the faith have probably
● DC 22> What classes and levels they have, plus minus 1

The difficulty should be raised if the enemies have ways of camouflage or


i.e. The Shrouded Soul by their own deity/faith.

Shield of Faith: There is a spell with this name. You get it's benefits until
you lose your faith, means they are added and work 24 hours per day until
you violate faith or die.

Spell Resistance 10, later 20: Your magic resistance is set to 10 at


prestige class level 3 and 20 at prestige class level 7. Most mortals (except
monk above level 11) have zero otherwise.

Keen Senses: Like the elven feat, the faith purifies your mortal shell, giving
you improved clarity of mundane senses with all benefits and hindrances.

Gift of the God: A full-bore defender of the faith who lived his or her faith
that dedicated has been accepted as worthy by the proper god/nature. The
defender of the faith can at this level decide to benefit by “take 10+ranks in
his or her faith class-skill” three times per day, no matter on what is to be
rolled.

Example: A faithful soul confronts the noble count Wittenberg, Satanist


warrior & arch-villain, high lord of perversion and cock-sucking crap-head
of the year. The faithful soul is gifted by the gods and has a faith of 16
ranks.
The faithful soul decides to “take 26” as his attack roll to hack this freaky
abomination into pieces instead of just rolling his attack roll as usual.
Further he “takes 26” on the saving throw against the smell of Wittenberg's
infernal underwear and planar silk-socks.

Notes

First, until the character has spell-casting ability from his primary class
(i.e. is a Druid, cleric, sorcerer, wizard or bard, ranger or paladin at proper
level) it is not available.

I worked to make this a prestige class possible to all character classes and
hint in how to handle my own approach.

Playing a rogue, dear Mr. Mearls: I wonder why you feel disturbed about
the undead immunity to back-stabbing when all it needs is a scroll like
“magic weapon” or “bless weapon” or perhaps a crossbow bolt with a glass
head filled with holy water and so on? It is not the rogue who fails, but
those who are not capable to fill the role as I guess. And in most worlds
without use_magic_device there is stuff like flintlock pistols or bombs, acid
or alchemist fire.

Even level one peasants and commoners found ways to deal with certain
menaces.

Recommended inspirational reading:

The song lyrics of “I believe” and “Defender” by Man'O'War and “Believe”


from the Streets album by Savatage. The lyrics can be read gratis online
(type the words into a search field of a search engine & press Enter). I
didn't suggest listening to the music for metal is not pleasant to all people.

My witch-hunter “poem”? Available gratis at www.e-stories.org/ (Witch's


Wake version) or at www.writing.com (temporal account) in the original
version.

I worked this up after I remembered that rituals and occult paraphernalia


are in the official D&D product line clearly part of so called “arcane” magic,
while faith and cleric spells belong to “divine” magic. Blessings, innate
abilities and minor miracles make my approach a notch less “puny-poor
wizard copy”, I hoped. Would info@mongoosepublishing.com appreciate a
copy of this? Maybe I remember to email them? I did.
Appendix

Use_Faithful_Device
Ability: Charisma
Classes: Defender of the Faith
Prerequisite: Faith skill 4 ranks
Untrained: No

Of course you can rule that you just allow "Use_Magic_Device".

Use: Use_Faithful_Device allows to make use of cleric & druid scrolls, items
and relics which are of compatible faith, yet not available without
Use_Magic_Device skill. It works by the same game mechanics and is
simply a more restricted (to faith) version (piss-poor copy, as promised) of
the original.

Example: A good guy may find scrolls and relics of good and perhaps once
in a while neutral faith which can be handled by faithful souls. As much
may the evil (it's always the opposition to be called heretics) soul apply evil
or neutral relics & scrolls. Neutrals may feel set back, yet usually have less
enemies and heretics to struggle against. A Druidic relic or scroll may only
by proper alignment and in a proper (story suiting) situation ever be
handled by clerical figures as the other way around, balance instead of
overdose?

Check: Precisely like Use_Magic_Device, just that it only works with cleric
and druid magic. No arcane magic ever, to speak straight.

Use: Success on a DC defined by game guide to make use of cleric & druid
scrolls, items and relics

The good news:


First, I can & will die. That's what many find easing their souls. Second, I
only attempted a practical approach to “roleplay living faith” instead of
talking about religious cliché topics. Third, there are plenty of people who
offer all I exclude. Yes, lots of real world religions, fantasy religions and
knowledge_religion pseudo-implemented into the official product line
(which I will never belong to anyway). See? So much good news around
these days... I never had faith in me as “an author”.