Friday 17 June 2016

Five Faiths One Religion - Cleric Subclasses

Religion pamphlet here.

Religion presents something of a problem.

My campaign map started out as a standard fantasy map with forests and rivers and a terrible sense of scale. Over the past half-decade it's grown closer and closer to Real History due to the influence of LotFP. Nowadays it's a sort of altered-geography parallel Earth in the vein of the Warhammer world or Lyra's World in His Dark Materials.

It's 1550 here in semi-fantasy England, meaning my established pantheon of nine gods needs to serve a similar role to Christianity in the early modern period. That is - fuck up everything and allow a lot of interesting wars and zealotry.

I want religion to be something the players will want to engage with. The early modern era is saturated with religion, but D&D often trends towards a sort of tacit atheism. Gods demonstrably exist, but nobody really gives them any thought in their day to day life. Even Clerics don't really have to engage if they don't want to. Just take your domain spells (if available) and go on your merry way.
Luckily Barry Blatt knocked it out of the park in England Upturn'd. Give Clerics of different denominations different abilities! Genius! And not only that, give mechanical benefits to everyone based on their denomination, not just Clerics.
Now everyone has a meta-reason to pay attention to their religion.
Plus it almost creates Cleric subclasses that intersect and interact with each other in different ways.
I really enjoy differentiation within a class because it means you can have two Specialists or two Elves or whatever without them necessarily stealing each other's thunder.

In case it wasn't obvious, I'm totally cribbing from, remixing, and generally ripping off the religion appendix at the back of England Upturn'd.

Finally, it's been established for a while in my game that Clerics can invent their god if they want. I've never really gone out of my way to justify this, because it's seemingly quite a natural thing to do. One of my players is currently playing a Cleric who worships his previous Cleric who got eaten by a demon bear. I want to make sure people can still do this if they like.

So that's three main goals:
- Create a mostly plausible parallel Christianity
- Mechanically impact all classes, not just Clerics, so it's something everyone needs to think about.
- Allow Clerics to invent their own deity if they want.

And so -



Nonanism has nine gods. It eats other religions and adds their gods to church canon.

Nonanism in Brief:

The Nonanist Church is basically an alternate Catholic Church, at least in the social historical sense.

There are Nine High Gods instead of the Holy Trinity.
In 0AD Jesus gave his life to free humanity from the Halfling Empire.
The holy tome is the Bible. The head of the Church is the Pope. The holy symbol is the Cross, or occasionally the Nine-Spoked Wheel.

One major difference is that the Church is rather liberal towards other religions. It’s hard to deny that other gods exist when there are Clerics of other deities performing legitimate miracles.
Instead of denying the existence of other gods, the Nonanist Church assimilates them.
As long as people recognise that their god is a Low God, merely a servant or aspect of one of the Nine High Gods, everyone’s allowed to carry on as they were. The newly discovered deity is added to a long list of Low Gods, the Church sends missionaries to build real churches and present the Gods’ real message, and the people are shown how and why they might have gotten confused.

You can still worship your Low God, just make sure the Nine get their proper praise too.

This all ticked along quite nicely until Martin Luther came along and fucked everything up by translating the Bible into the vernacular. Now people can actually read the Bible themselves and it turns out none of this bullshit about Low Gods is actually in there. Not to mention the scriptural basis of the Nine High Gods is really quite shaky.

So now everything’s falling apart.

Main Denominations:

Loegrianism: Anglican analog and state religion of Loegria (aka alt-England). Believe there are Nine High Gods and no others. Unique Cleric spell changes weekly.
Roman Nonanism: Catholic analog. Believe in Nine High Gods and the Low Gods who serve them. Clerics can invent own Low God and craft buff-granting talismans.
Denialism: Protestant analog. Believe the Nine are a lie and there is only One True God. Righteous oratory shakes faith of sinners and inspires flock.
East Unorthodoxy: Use D&D alignments. Believe each of the Nine High Gods represents a different moral standing, from Lawful to Chaotic and Good to Evil. Swap mutually exclusive long-term buffs depending on situation.
Termaxianism: Just weird. Believe the Nine High Gods are too distracted by the Final Battle for Creation to bother watching us. Clerics grant action battle magic.

The Nine High Gods:
Alaunus. He of the Mailed Fist. Loyal, honourable and fervent.
Minerva. She of the Burnished Shield. Wise, reserved and battle-worn.
The Allfather. He of the Filled Cup. Strong, warm and kind.
Oberon. He of the Green Branch. Wild, cunning and tall.
The Lady. She of the Silver Coin. Fickle, quick-witted and joyous.
Vorn. He of the Rusted Blade. Grim, gaunt and iron-clad.
The Dead God. He of the Brittle Bone. Vigilant, just and quick-tempered.
Dispater. He of the Subtle Knife. Secretive, sharp-eyed and silver-tongued.
Eris. She of the Spinning Wheel. Progressive, shameless and driven.


The Fated King is the head of the Loegrian Church, having split off from the main Nonanist Church about fifteen years ago.
While mostly following mainstream Nonanism, Loegrians believe that the whole thing with Low Gods is nonsense and the Nine High Gods are all there are.
Each week a different member of the Nine is used as a focus for religious devotion, culminating each Sunday in a celebration in the name of that particular High God.

Game Effects
Loegrian Clerics acquire the unique spell Blessings of the Nine.
Loegrians gain double benefit from Blessings of the Nine.
Denialists reverse the benefits of Blessings of the Nine.

Blessings of the Nine

Cleric Level 1
Duration: 1 turn per Cleric level
Range: 50’ radius

Grants a different bonus depending on which deity is the focus of devotion this week.
Alaunus: +1 to melee attacks
Minerva: +1 to AC
The Allfather: Food eaten to heal always heals the full 6 HP. Loegrian faithful heal 6+1d6 HP.
Oberon: +1 to ranged attacks
The Lady: Gain a reroll to be used at any time. Loegrian faithful get two.
Vorn: Equipment quality improves by 1.
The Dead God: +1 to rolls to avoid unconsciousness and death when at 0hp.
Dispater: +1 to hit from surprise
Eris: +1 to gambit attempts
During holidays sacred to Jesus (Easter, Christmas, etc): Reflect mind-afflicting effects back on the attacker with a successful Save vs Magic. Loegrian faithful roll twice and take the best.


Many people weren’t particularly pleased by the Fated King’s decision to break away from the Nonanist Church. They still follow mainstream Nonanism despite the King’s attempts at Reformation, and tend to riot if someone tries to mess with the Book of Common Prayer.
It’s obvious that the King’s blasphemies led directly to the current crises wracking the South. Why else would there be Dead and Demons everywhere?
People sometimes refer to Nonanists as Roman Nonanists in order to set them apart from other denominations. These people are wrong, real Nonanism is the only true Nonanism.

Game Effects
Nonanist Clerics can invent their own Low Gods and acquire the unique spell Imbue Talisman.
Talismans last a week, but Nonanists can refresh worn talismans for another week by attending Church on a Sunday.
Denialists and Loegrians receive no benefit from worn Talismans.

Imbue Talisman
Cleric Level 1
Duration: Instantaneous
Range: Touch

This spell may be cast only on a Sunday. It requires a holy symbol representing the Cleric’s god and a place sacred to them. The value of the symbol and the altar do not matter, only that the Cleric believes it to be sacred.
Once cast, the symbol is imbued with the power of the god and the Cleric’s faith.

The power of the talisman is chosen by the Cleric’s player. It should be specific, conditional and related to their Low God. Mechanical benefits will not exceed a +1 bonus.
The God of Thieves might grant a bonus to hiding in shadows while indoors, for instance, while the God of Light might give a benefit to AC when standing in direct sun.

A Talisman retains its power until sunset on the following Sunday.


Denialists believe there is One True God as told via the teachings of Jesus. They reject all Church doctrine as the Bible is the only source of spiritual truth.
The Nine High Gods are never mentioned directly in the Bible. Nonanists try to justify them through scripture but frankly it’s a mystery where the doctrine came from in the first place. Presumably one of the Popes made it up at an ecumenical council and the concept stuck. 
At best this makes the Church a bunch of corrupt fools, but more likely the Pope is a puppet of Queen Satan trying to bring about the downfall of Man.
This is, of course, a vastly heretical point of view and antithetical to the doctrine of the Nonanist Faith at large.

Game Effects

Denialist Clerics acquire the unique spell Undeniable Truth.
Denialists are affected positively by Undeniable Truth.
Other denominations are affected negatively by Undeniable Truth.

Undeniable Truth
Cleric Level 1
Duration: 10 rounds + Level
Range: 30’ radius

The Cleric lets fly with their most unassailable quotes from scripture, most ironclad arguments against Church doctrine, brutal threats of hell, curses, gesticulations and all round hollering, reaffirming the beliefs of himself and his followers and presenting sinners with undeniable proof of the corruption of the Church and the falsehood of the Nine.
This shakes the faith of any non-Denialist Nonanists in range, causing a morale check and filling them with crippling self-doubt. Affected individuals must make a Save vs Rhetorical Device or become immune to the benefits of their denomination until they can talk it over with a priest, Cleric, or other high-ranking member of their faith for at least an hour.
The Cleric and their Denialist faithful within range are filled with RIGHTEOUSNESS and CLARITY OF PURPOSE, gaining a +1 to hit against people of non-Denialist denominations, +2 against Roman Nonanists, and immunity from mind-afflicting effects for the duration of the spell.


The East Unorthodox Church split off from the Nonanist Church at the turn of the millennium due to a range of theological disputes, most notably over the concept of the Triple Trinity.
The Unorthodox believe that the Nine High Gods each embody a different moral alignment. 
The Three Good Gods seek to lift humanity into the glory of heaven. Worship and obey them.
The Gods Between care more for Nature than for Man. Respect them and do not invite their wrath.
The Dark Trinity seek to destroy the souls of Mankind. Curse them and fight their machinations.
The Low Gods exist to serve the Nine, and act differently towards Man depending on whom they serve. Give praise only to those Low Gods who serve the Three Good Gods, for those who serve the Dark Trinity are demons.
The Unorthodox are prevalent to the east of Europea, but some few have made their way west.

Game Effects
Unorthodox Clerics gain access to the unique spell Triple Trinity.
Unorthodox faithful gain additional benefit from Triple Trinity.
Denialists and Termaxians gain reverse benefits from Triple Trinity.

Triple Trinity
Cleric Level 1
Duration: Until Sunrise
Range: 50’ Radius

The Cleric gives a sermon to focus the faithful upon one of the Triple Trinities. The Cleric chooses which Trinity to focus on when they cast the spell. People can only be affected by one Triple Trinity spell at a time.
On casting, choose between:
Praise the Three Good Gods: Affected Clerics cast spells as though they are one level higher. Affected Unorthodox faithful gain the maximum benefit from Cleric spells (eg. maximum health from Cure Light Wounds, maximum Bless points from Bless).
Respect the Gods Between: The DM rolls overland encounters twice and the Cleric chooses which to take. Affected Unorthodox characters are ignored during random encounters if there are other targets available.
Abjure the Dark Trinity: Affected Clerics gain +5 against saves vs magical effects from Chaotic sources and gain a +2 to hit against Magic-Users, Demons, Elves and other creatures that detect as Chaotic. Affected Unorthodox faithful gain a +2 against saves vs magical effects from Chaotic sources and +1 to hit against creatures that detect as Chaotic.


The Termaxians are a weird bunch. They believe that the Apocalypse happened five hundred years ago when the Eris the Ninth God fell from heaven and became Queen Satan. Soon after, the prophet Terms Termax fused with the spirit of Jesus to form the entity called Maximum Godhead Hyper-Jesus and descended into Hell to defeat Queen Satan forevermore.
When Maximum Godhead Hyper-Jesus finally wins he will bring the Termaxian faithful to the Holy Mountain. There they will blast off in a silver rocket to heaven, which is exactly one hundred miles above the surface of the Earth, and sit and watch what happens to everyone left behind while having just the best time.
Until then they can all just hang out and do whatever they want. The Eight Gods Who Remain are too busy watching the Ultimate Battle to pay attention to boring mortals, so in the meantime go wild! Fornicate, drink, smoke, whatever! No gods are watching to judge us!

Game Effects
Termaxian Clerics acquire the unique spell Comes the Godhead.
Comes the Godhead lasts twice as long for Termaxians.
Termaxians gain a +2 bonus to saves versus non-Termaxian Cleric spells.

Comes the Godhead
Level 1 Cleric
Duration: 1 round/level
Range: Touch

The target takes on a measure of the spirit of Maximum Godhead Hyper-Jesus. Their skin glows with inner light, a halo forms above their head, and at the start of each round they choose between the following moves:
Maximum Smite: Deal double damage.
Cross Counter: Return damage onto the one who damaged you once per round.
Ultimate Move - Final Fortress: Meditate within an invulnerable shell until the end of the spell’s duration. Absorb all damage done to you and your allies within 50’. At the end of the duration the damage absorbed is dealt to everyone within 50’, including yourself.


  1. This is brilliant! A genuinely genius blog post.

    I love the bit about the Halflings. It fits in well with the hints about them in various LotFP products (or at least HotG).

    1. Hey thanks man!
      If you want to see my vague timeline that combines real world with Dwimmermount with HotG, it's here-

  2. Would love to see all of this and your house rules etc in a giant pdf. This is great stuff!

    1. Yea that's a really good idea! I guess I never considered that anyone would want to try the whole thing as-is, so I've been treating it like a house rule pick'n'mix rather than a whole system.