Posted by : David Guyll February 20, 2014

Aaand it looks like filler week continues.

Instead of giving us anything of substance we get to hear about name levels (they were a thing in some of the previous editions!), what pantheism really means, various religious models, and...that 5th Edition will support homebrew religions. Were people really worried about this? It is not like this sort of thing requires actual rules, so was anyone even questioning it?

I find it strange (but not unexpected) that he talks about cognitive dissonance in regards to the look and limitations of the classic cleric, but does not address how they cast spells, specifically that they do not at all feel like a cleric is petitioning her god for aid or intervention. You phone in your "miracles", get exactly what you asked for, use them whenever you need to, and they always work precisely as expected.

It is so, so predictably absolute that faith never factors into the equation, and there is nothing miraculous about them.

But hey, at least we have Divine Domains, right? The extra spells, bonus proficiencies, and various class features eventually add up to some form of recognizable differentiation from other clerics. Well, so long as they do not choose the same domain, anyway.

It would have also been, I dunno, something, to see how gods might be handled at this specific point in time.
In 3rd Edition they were for no discernible reason statted out: did anyone need to know that Sif not only has 20 levels in both barbarian and fighter, but a divine rank of 10, 26 and up in every stat, an Armor Class of 80-fucking-4, +5 weapon and armor, and a mess of domain powers, divine immunities, salient divine abilities, and a paragraph of spell-like abilities, skills, and feats (none of which are explained in the stat block)? Did I mention that she is merely a lesser deity?

Who was that written for? Has any party legitimately leveled up to the point where they could even pose a challenge?

For better or worse 4th Edition simplified things quite a bit while still making god-like beings a challenge. For example Lolth clocks in at 35 solo, or 5 levels above the "official cap" and a few above the recommended maximum for a major challenge for a 30th-level party of five. You might balk at her first form "only" having five things to choose from (not counting her triggered actions), but at least it seems to be designed around the idea that you are looking at her fighting stats with the intent to actually use them: everything is contained within the block, and she is a challenging threat for the most epic of epic-level characters.

So...how will 5th Edition handle gods? Will they be a mess of math and text that not only refers you to other parts of the book, or possibly even other books entirely, to discern their meaning, but is ultimately wasted page space for the vast majority of groups out there? Will they be neatly encapsulated on at most a single page (and still likely wasted page space, just less)? Some Dungeon Masters do not think that they should even have stats at all; what about them?

Who knows. Thanks to this article what I do know, in addition to a bunch of useless information, is that I can make a homebrew religion...which has been a "perk" in every edition so far.

{ 2 comments... read them below or Comment }

  1. It's a huge cop-out to play without considering faith. In my homebrew campaign, prayers produce miracles that no one understands. The gods NEVER speak directly, though there are churches and divine magic. Folks don't understand why they can pray to both Zeus and Odin and get results, nor why the gods tolerate being called, for example, Zeus on one continent and Jupiter on another.

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    1. Eberron takes a similar approach: people believe that there are gods, clerics (not the rank and file clergy, but the much rarer cleric) can cast spells, but no one has definitively seen one. I recall various bits of flavor where different cultures describe them differently, too.

      I find it much more interesting than, say, Forgotten Realms, where people are not only aware that they exist, but they have also been killed (especially the god of magic).

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