FrankenFourth: Clerics & Turning Stuff

It never made sense for, by default, regardless of god worshiped, every cleric to possess the ability to turn/destroy undead (or when 3rd Edition came out, to be able to command them if you were Evil or Neutral and chose that option).

I also found the idea of normally mindless skeletons and zombies cringing in fear or even running away to be pretty damned silly: in 2nd and 3rd Edition they don't even have Intelligence scores, and are even immune to magical fear!

Just check out the cover to Cleric's Challenge II:

I just love the skeletons in the back: one looks like it's crying or rubbing its eyes, two almost look like they're hugging each other, and I have no idea what the one with the extended arm is doing.

Anyway, when we designed The Cleric for Dungeon World we replaced the Turn Undead move with Rebuke Adversary: it's similar in effect, but works against any creature deemed "unholy" by your god (subject to GM approval). So, if you worship a god of nature you could keep unnatural creatures at bay (like Lovecraftian entities from beyond time and space), a god of winter could let you affect fire-based creatures and things associated with summer or spring (plants?), and sure a god of life or maybe death could affect undead.

The FrankenFourth cleric talent of the same name works the same way: you pick one or more creatures (also subject to GM approval), and can brandish your holy symbol to try and keep them off your ass (they get a Will save to resist). Intelligent creatures are forced away to a distance of 30 feet, but mindless creatures just stand there (considering having them suffer damage, too). In either case the effect only lasts as long as you continue praying (a Standard Action if you're in combat) or attack an affected creature.

As in the Black Box "Easy to Master Game" and 2nd Edition Dungeons & Dragons, there's no limit to the number of times you can try it in a day, though we're considering giving it a Favor cost (or requiring you to have at least 1 Favor banked). If creatures save against it or the effect ends because you attack them, they can't be affected by it again during that particular encounter (yes, 2E specifically says encounter, and the Black Box states that once a cleric fails to turn undead, "all his other attempts during the same battle also fail").

Since I think it's a pretty focused ability, I'm strongly leaning towards making it part of every cleric by default: unless they choose creatures that they know they'll see a lot of I just can't see many players bothering with it, especially when they can choose other talents that they know they'll use far more often.

It also just makes sense.

Finally, while the FrankenFourth Basic Rules only has Rank 1 talents, down the road Rebuke Adversary will have rank-ups and linked talents that let you daze/stun affected creatures, increase the range, actually knock them away, inflict radiant damage, and whatever else we cook up.

If you're curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

Dungeons & Delvers is also on Kickstarter now: check it out, and if it looks like something you'd enjoy give it some support!

The Rogue is our latest alternate-addition to the Dungeon World core class roster. If you want something different and/or more flexible than the thief, be sure to check it out!

Just released our second adventure for A Sundered World, The Golden Spiral. If a snail-themed dungeon crawl is your oddly-specific thing, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

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