Friday, March 28, 2014

The Minotaurs' Treasure

Wednesday evening, May 5, 1651
With clear skies and pleasant temperatures, and a moderate prevailing breeze

Moon: waning crescent, 4 days before the new moon

The party makes haste from the lair, hauling out the goods, changing from and re-donning their armor, until they're at last able to climb up onto the ridge with their goods and make their way until it grows dark.  They are perhaps three miles from the village when it gets too dangerous to travel, and so they settle down with torches and lanterns and look over their treasure.  Apart from the three books, here is what they find.

576 carat (ct.) plum-sized chrysoprase stone
1131 ct. plum-sized moonstone stone
1111 ct. plum-sized carnelian
12 ct. pea-sized alexandrite gem
45 ct. marble-sized cat's eye
perfume bottle, glass orb with ornate silver filigree
vial containing four ounces of mercury
lead crystal urn, 12 in. tall
wall mirror, 3 ft. tall x 18 in. wide, set in a hardwood frame
scroll in a leather scroll case, with a feign death spell
wand, unknown
3364 g.p.
384 s.p.
128 c.p.

All told, from treasure, including the gold, evenly dividing it between the members of the party, everyone is entitled to 2,643 x.p. (10% already added).

Bert says that he'd like to come into the village with you, for he'd like to say goodbye to Hichem, but then he is going to move on.  "Would you be willing to part with 100 gold pieces of this horde," he asks.  "That would take me as far as Antioch.  I'm bound for Ethiopia, and I think this would manage the first part of the journey."

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Keyhole

Starting a new post as the previous one's comment thread is getting long.  Everyone's location; Bert, Maximillian and Ahmet are in the first room of the minotaurs; Lukas and Andrej are standing on the plank in the pool room.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Bert's Explorations

As Bert re-encounters the party, looking a bit blackened and the worse for wear (I did not ask anyone to make any saving throws for their equipment against lightning, but I think we'll let that go, for reasons that might become evident), he is shocked.  "What's happened to you?" he asks, and listens patiently for your answer.

Once that's done, he says to Lukas, "I'm glad to see that you're well, friend."  He then agrees you've probably got it right as far as the trap is concerned - and suggests that perhaps the source of the lightning isn't magic, because it did function again a second time.  He hasn't a specific answer for an alternative, however. Bert looks at the trap, believes that somehow the electricity is directed from below.  He adds that he doesn't believe the trap has been opened in some time - a couple of months, he feels.

As you puzzle this information out, Bert explains about his explorations,

"I haven't much need for any treasure," he says, "So I felt I'd leave you to it.  I'm only here for the adventure.  And given that you didn't seem too encouraged to take the passage down, I took it upon myself to go alone.  About 70 feet down there's a wide passage that's level, but filled with more of the silkweed.  There's some kind of harvesting room just beyond, about 50 feet I'd say, with about six tunnels full of the stuff.  They must cut it and eat it.  I saw a small graveyard, with four big graves in it, minotaur graves I think, and a little hollow where there are two other minotaurs.  Beyond the hollow is a large passage that goes down further, but I didn't look there as I thought I'd seen enough.  I think the minotaurs were guarding against that downwards passage, they never looked in my direction."  He looks solemn.  "Those minotaurs are bigger yet that the two we saw here," Bert says.  "I'm not sure how they move from down there to up here, but unless we want to meet them, I suggest we get our goods and go.  They seemed passive, so I don't think they'll be up anytime soon, but perhaps they have shifts."

All around, the torches on the walls are beginning to run down, suggesting they're changed regularly.  You did not see a source for torches, so you don't know where they might be brought from.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Minotaur Rear Chamber

There's not much to describe, as most of this 30' by 30' room is taken up with a large hay pile, a heavy wooden table and two chairs of minotaur size, and a low shallow hole, ten feet wide, filled with sand that appears to have been used as a toilet. There are dried pats that have been rolled in the sand.  The position of the hole correlates with the image on the map that says, 'floor.'

There are four massive books, minotaur sized, each of which would weigh about 45 lbs. with a font size of approximately 18.  Each book is 30 inches by 19, bound with wood and twine, and tied shut both along the spine and along the front, so they don't open without untying.  Each is about 3 inches high.  One is "History of Circassia"; another is, "Father Axus"; a third reads, "Enkidu and the Minotaur"; and the last is written in script that is unrecognizable.

No obvious treasure exists.

More I'll answer in the comments.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Bull Trips Up - Minotaur Round 16

Only the bull can take action.

It swings its head wildly from side to side, attacking both Ahmet and Bert ... but as it swings its head towards Ahmet first, it slips on the blood (rolling a 1 on its attack die), knocking its nose on the ground.  The other horn attack is thrown off balance and doesn't happen.

There is still the bulk of the beast, however, and incidental damage is still done to first Ahmet, who takes 2 damage from the bull's head as it butts against the fighter's leg ... then as the bull backs, to regain its balance, it's hoof scrapes Maximillian's foot, causing 1 damage.  Neither is enough to stun anyone.

Everyone can take action.  The Berts will flee to 0608, hopping over the minotaur's legs.


The Bull Charges Andrej - Minotaur, Round 15.

As the minotaur is again stunned, the bull - snorting and apparently crazed - stamps around the feed trough, ignoring the dancing lights, through 0604, 0504, 0505 and 0606 to slam into Andrej as hard as it can.  As the bull weighs something like 1800 lbs., there's really nothing anyone can do to stop it on its course. Passing Bert, Lukas and Maximillian, it has the potential to do incidental damage ... and it does, to Lukas, causing 2 points from its flank as it turns to charge Andrej.

Because it's a bull, it doesn't need two rounds to charge (they're scary that way), only half its full movement ... and anyone who's seen a bullfight knows how fast this mean things can turn.  Andrej feels a touch of protection against malevolence against the beast, but not enough to be unscathed.  He's hit mid-drift, with one horn, taking 2d6 damage (I hit AC -1 and AC -3, the first knocked away by Bert's magic).  I roll 7, which stuns Andrej (I believe he's at 25 hit points) ... throwing him against the door, for which I'll add another d3 of damage.  Andrej takes 2 more, so 9 altogether (dropping him to 16).

Lukas is considered stunned, as it drops him to -2.  Maximillian has to back into 0404 as the bull goes past.

Maximillian and Andrej can take action.

After the party's attack:

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Digging Their Way Out - Minotaur, Round 14

The minotaur takes no action, as it's stunned.

The bull swings completely around and away from the lights, intending to horn Maximillian as best it can.  It hits AC 4, which is good enough, and causes 6 damage to the druid.  That stuns, knocking the druid into the hex with Lukas and all the Berts.  Maximillian does not suffer incidental damage.

Lukas, Andrej and Ahmet can take action.  Ahmet, you can just continue drinking the potion of course.  You do not bleed at this time.

After the party's move:

The Party ... Lives - Minotaur, Round 13

The minotaur turns to Andrej, moving to 0706.  It takes a swing at the cleric, but one of the lights distracts it at the last moment and the minotaur misses Andrej completely.  The minotaur attempts to drop its head and make good with a horn, but it snags it's right horn on the door and - though it makes a horrid sound as it tears at the door's wood, the minotaur's horn misses the cleric.

The bull reacts to the flashing lights, waving its head about wildly, as though to clear them.  It loses one of its attacks from being off balance, but yet it manages to graze Ahmet with one horn for 1 point of damage.  I roll for incidental damage and discover that both Andrej and Ahmet (both close enough, as they are in adjacent hexes) manage to avoid any of it.

While Andrej, Ahmet and Maximillian take whatever action they're able to take, Lukas and Ahmet both lose another point to their wounds.  Bert, with speed and grace, manages to find Lukas's salve without being told.

I will need Lukas to make a d20 check to see if the mage is conscious.  Having dropped to -4, this is now necessary.

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Hurt Returns - Minotaur Round 12

The minotaur shoulders the door with all of its 414 lbs., and Andrej suddenly realizes the error of his plan. The door, used as a weapon by the minotaur, slaps Andrej in the face for d8 damage ... I roll a 6.  That still doesn't stun Andrej, but it does force the cleric back into 0906.

Now the minotaur strides forward, lifts its axe with its second attack and proceeds to use it on Lukas:  it hits AC 1 with the axe, causing 12 damage to the mage.  The mage staggers back, shaken, for two hexes to 0504 ... but at -3, actually managed to remain conscious.  Bleeding, however ...

The minotaur runs out of movement then, turning its head to account for Andrej before glaring at all the little Berts.

The bull attacks Ahmet, sensing the fighter's previous mistreatment of animals.  I have the fighter's AC as 2 (plate & shield) and I hit that once, causing 4 damage.  That is just enough to stun.  Ahmet also suffers one damage from bleeding.  Ahmet falls back to 0905 and the bull follows him.

Rolling incidental damage from the bull, both Maximillian and Ahmet suffer none.  Lukas is technically in a hex adjacent to the bull's rump, but as the bull is pushing forward I will exempt the mage from a check.

Maximillian and Andrej can take action.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Hurt Goes Away a Moment - Minotaur, Round 11

The minotaur swings his blade and misses.  It falls back into 0708.

The bull drops his head, waves its horns at all the little Berts, and fails to strike any of them.  Bert rushes underneath the bull, and it loses its way and walks forward two hexes, to end up in 0604 & 0704, breathing heavily at Ahmet.

All the party may take action.

Maximillian, any attack against 0604 is considered a flank attack; there is no 'back' to fight.

After the party's move:

And ... the Druid's Turn - Minotaur, Round 10

The minotaur swings his axe at Andrej, rolling a 15.  This would normally hit Andrej, but the protection malevolence takes effect and the axe ceases its descent a foot above Andrej's head and bounces back. The minotaur screams in rage, drops its head and attempts to strike Andrej with the horn; it hits with a nineteen, and Andrej takes 6 damage.  That still isn't enough to stun the cleric.

The bull attempts to gore Maximillian ... the first roll is a 7, which clearly misses; but the second horn is another 20 rolled by the DM.  (2nd d20 roll = 14).  A d6, doubled, does 8 damage to the druid, stunning and throwing him back into the corner at 0302.  Whereupon the bull turns to face Bert in 0604

Ahmet still says "Ah-"  Won't next time around.

Ahmet, you bleed one point of damage.  That doesn't stun you.  Ahmet, Andrej and Lukas can take action.

After the party's move:

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Let's Have It, Then - Minotaurs, Round 9

The minotaur advances to 0606 and again swings his fist against Lukas.  He rolls a 12, hitting AC 3, causing 3 damage on a d8.  Lukas has 23 maximum, and took 11 last round; that gives him 12 at this time, and I calculate that 3 is enough to stun him.

The stun causes Lukas to drop the weapon, and fall back into 0707.  The minotaur collects its weapon, but as it has already used its hand attack, it can't swing the axe at Andrej.  It can, however, twist its head and try to gore Andrej with a horn, which it does, advancing into 0706 ... rolling a 16, and causing 6 damage with 2d4.  That's not enough to stun Andrej, who still has 37 hp.

The bull gives both horns to Ahmet, rolling a 17 and a 20 critical ... and - ouch - the second roll is a 20!!!  Third roll is a 3.  Each horn does 1d6, and the critical hits second.  (roll, roll)  That's 5 damage for the first horn ... and 5 x3 damage for the second horn, for a total of 20.  The second horn definitely stuns Ahmet, and that's a wound.  Ahmet falls back into 0703.

The bull swivels around and faces Maximillian.  This move causes the bull's head to thump against Maximillian's thigh, causing 1 incidental damage.

(I like that the image above cuts off Ahmet's name so he's just "Ah -")

Andrej and Maximillian can both take action.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Mage Gets His - Minotaur, Round 8

The minotaur completely ignores Maximillian; it has suffered already from magic, it was able to identify the magic cast last by Lukas, and it goes for Lukas malevolently.  It's first attack is to club Lukas with its fist, landing a menacing blow for 5 damage.  Then it turns to gore Lukas with a horn, and this it succeeds in doing causing 6 more damage.  The second blow stuns the mage, who is tossed back into the abacus in 0407.  The beast has no more AP, and yet glares at its axe on the ground before it.

The bull does 2 damage to Maximillian as it yawns and turns, before it ends snorting and breathing heavily upon the nape of Ahmet's neck; it does not attack, however, in keeping with the yawn cantrip's effect ... but next round, it is only restrained from attacking with it's mouth; and it has no interest in doing so.

The party can act, with the exception of Lukas.


Position after the party's move:

Monday, March 10, 2014

Bull! - Round 7

Charging Bull!

At this point, both minotaurs are helpless ... but, much to the surprise of the party, and particularly to Maximillian, is the appearance of a full-on natural bull that comes charging out of the room beyond.  It attempts to horn the druid, but misses with a 5.  The druid jumps back to 0502, suffers 1 damage from incidental damage as the bull skids to a stop in 0603, and then watches the bull slide through the hay until it's lowered head bangs into the minotaur in hex 0404.

The end image is:

The bull enters and attacks

The hold person spell is broken.  The party has full freedom of action.

As the larger minotaur falls to its death

Friday, March 7, 2014

Andrej's Knowledge

All the base work for the clerical sage tables has been done; if possible, I'd like Andrej to choose his field & two specialties now, with two understandings.  First, ignore what you may have taken before.  The rules have changed, and it is my usual process to allow a blank slate in such cases.  Start from scratch.  Secondly, I'm going to upgrade these rules in the future to make them more specific ... at which time, you'll be allowed again to start with a clean slate, if the changes are considerable enough (and they may not be.  I want to play test this first).

I would like it if you would do your choosing in this fashion.  First, please select your field and your specialty in that field as though you were first level.  Note that there have been changes to the die rolls that are used. Once you have chosen field and specialty, roll 4d12 for the specialty, and 4d8 minus four for each of the other studies in your field.  Then roll 4d4 minus four for each of the non-field studies.

Then, looking at the results, which may indicate a strength in something that may change your mind about what to go with next, choose your second specialty in your chosen field.  Then upgrade everything to 5th level: a d12 for the two specialties, a d8-1 for each of the in-field studies, and a d4-1 for each of the non-field studies.

Yes, you can probably just roll 5d4-5 for the non-field studies if you want.  Won't make much difference, I suppose.  I'd just like you to see how the non-specialty, in-field studies go up to fourth level before you choose one for 5th.

Please give me the results.

Is there something you need?  Would it be helpful to repost all the information here in this post?  Would you prefer I send it all by email?

Maximillian, if you're reading this ... I'm going to start on the druid studies next.  Sorry Lukas.  But then, Ahmet gets nothing ... just all the x.p. in every encounter.  I have no love for fighters.

Reposted Cleric Sage Studies


A field is a sphere of activity or interest that covers a wide range of knowledge.  Each field is comprised of specialties, which are distinctive lines of inquiry or interest.  Possible specialties which the cleric does not choose are called studies.  Studies within the cleric’s field are called field studies, and those outside the field are called non-field studies.

For example, from the list below, a cleric chooses ‘The Church’ as their field and ‘history’ as their specialty.  This would mean that heraldry (etc.), politics & geneology and religious architecture would all be ‘field studies.’  All the other possible subjects, such as art & music, heroes or divination, would be ‘non-field studies.”

Clerics possess four fields:  The Church, Legends & Folklore, Power and Theology.  The studies within these fields are listed below:

The Church:  1) heraldry, signs & signals; 2) history; 3) politics & geneology; 4) religious architecture
Legends & Folklore:  1) artifacts; 2) beasts; 3) demi-gods; 4) gods; 5) heroes
Power:  1) divination; 2) dweomercraft; 3) medicine; 4) the outer planes
Theology:  1) art & music; 2) astronomy & astrology; 3) law & customs; 4) philosophy & ethics

At 1st level, clerics gain one field, and one specialty within that field.  This reflects the knowledge that the cleric was able to gather while studying their religion within monasteries and libraries.  This knowledge is then expanded as the cleric increases in level, for it is presumed that the cleric is naturally inquisitive, glancing through books, chatting with other persons along roads or at the inn, even if the character never expresses their intention to gather knowledge.  Moreover, some of this knowledge, such as that pertaining to power and the outer planes, could be gained by the cleric through visions, dreams and other non-traditional sources.

The knowledge is measured by points, awarded to all possible studies, though in different amounts.  The cleric’s chosen specialty is awarded 12 points; each field study is awarded 1d8 minus 1, which the cleric rolls; and non-field studies are each awarded 1d4 minus 1.

Upon gaining a level, the cleric increases all non-field studies by 1d4 minus 1; field studies by 1d8 minus 1; and specialties (for later on the cleric gains others) by 1d12.

At 5th level, and every four levels thereafter (9th, 13th, 17th, etc.), the cleric gains an additional specialty from the cleric’s field studies (that is, within the cleric’s present field).  At that point, the cleric begins rolling a d12 for additional level gains in that specialty.  Suppose that a given field study rated 15 points at 4th level, the cleric having rolled 4d8 up until then.  At 5th, the cleric chooses that study as a new specialty; a d12 is then rolled (for gaining a level) and added to the original 15. 

At 7th level, and every six levels thereafter (13th, 19th and 25th), the cleric gains an additional field.  All the studies in that field henceforth become field studies, and increase at 1d8 per level.  Clerics may choose additional specialties from any field they possess.

For every 10 points of a cleric possesses in any study, the cleric is entitled to one piece of knowledge about persons, places, objects, creatures, living things or features, the exact knowledge depending upon a) the chosen study; and b) the competence of the cleric.

Competence is graded as follows:  possessing 10-19 points in a study defines an enthusiastic amateur; possessing 20-39 points defines an authority;  possessing 40-79 points defines an expert; and having 80 points or more defines a sage.

The questions that can be answered, depending upon one’s competence, are listed below.  Note that knowledge is not meant to provide any special ability or power.  It is employment of knowledge, not the knowledge itself, that offers power through the creation of tactical planning.  Some of the below studies, such as astrology. will offer minor skills gained from continued study.

Art & music

Amateur:  century of creation, continental origin, means of creation
Authority:  name of the creator, quality, regional origin, meaning of symbolism
Expert:  monetary value, social importance of work
Sage:  hidden qualities, magical relationships


Amateur:  recognition of artifacts and items of magic
Authority:  capability (melee, magic, etc.), implementation (sans result), regional origin
Expert:  identify minor power (sans specifics), origin story, purpose of creation, previous user
Sage:  identify primary power, identify special condition, name of creator

Implementation (sans result) would mean that the cleric knew enough to make the artifact function, but not enough to say what the artifact actually does.  Knowledge of features is limited to the number of multiples of 10 the cleric possesses.  If the cleric has 50 points, say, and chooses to use all 5 possible pieces of knowledge to define all the minor powers, the cleric cannot then also know the regional origin, or how the artifact functions, or its purpose of creation.

Astronomy & Astrology

Amateur:  navigate by stars, recognize heavens, superior use of a telescope
Authority:  calculate date & time, read & design birth chart
Expert:  predict cosmic events; read daily astrological charts
Sage:  detect invisibility; recognize non-terrestrial life

Navigation describes the proper use of a sextant, and not direction of a ship over seas—though  the cleric working with an experienced sailor together would satisfy a ship’s navigational requirement.  Recognizing the heavens means knowing the stars and constellations by sight.  Superior use would mean having a keen sense of detail when  using a telescope.

A birth-chart would offer both role-playing opportunities and perhaps might encourage the DM to tweak a character’s abilities very slightly upon being ‘read.’  Daily astrological charts might offer tweaks to circumstances or modifiers to die rolls.  Actual charts pulled from the internet would serve as a basis for the character’s ability (it’s all nonsense in reality anyway, so today’s chart would serve for describing a particular day 400 years ago).

Non-terrestrial life, obviously, looks perfectly normal to everyone else.


Amateur:  identify creature
Authority:  identify special power; probable origin
Expert:  estimate strength of main attack; identify weakness
Sage:  define strength of any attacks; estimate health; identify name; recognize associates

Beasts are magical, non-traditional creatures that are conjured from other planes of existence or which have come about through accident, chance or malevolence.   The knowledge does not include beings that once had souls, such as demons, devils, angels or seraphim, nor gods and god-like creatures, nor past heroes, nor undead, nor humanoids, nor beings that are constructed such as homonculi or golems.  Typical beasts would be basilisks, chimera, dragons, lamia, manticores, owlbears, umberhulks, unicorns, violet fungi, xorn, yellow musk creepers and so on.  These are all presumed to have a wide range of characteristics that may deviate far from the traditional Monster Manual, so it should be kept in mind that book is not a final authority.


Amateur:  identify name, sphere of power
Authority:  geographical origin, practices, spread of followers
Expert:  identify demi-god’s purpose or plan, persecutions of followers, planar origin
Sage:  means to communicate with demi-god, name and probable location of principal worshipper, signs of direct supernatural intervention

Sphere of power would be the god’s particular strength (nature, the sea, animals, healing, etc.).  Geographical origin refers to the place where worship of the god began, as spread of followers indicates where they are strongest right now.  Both the purpose and plan are knowable as one unit, as is the name and probable location of the principle worshipper (in Catholicism, this would be the Pope).  Planar origin of the demi-god would define, say, which of nine planes of Hell the god occupies, and possible other locations within the ethereal, astral or prime material planes.  Persecution of followers is knowledge of what pogroms other religions might be pursuing against the worshippers of this particular demi-god.

One piece of knowledge may be known about any particular demi-god per 10 points of study.


Amateur:  obtain the best means of divining or locating knowledge desired.
Authority:  insight into question for best results; recruit aid.
Expert:  clarify one meaning; gain suggested course of action
Sage:  clarify full meaning

The knowledge does not convey the ability to divine supernatural knowledge, but rather to pursue the best course in obtaining such knowledge, and interpretation of same.  Actual divination requires a spell of some kind.

Obtaining the best means would be to know whether augury, divination, a wish, numerology, astrology, the tarot or some other means of divination is the best means towards the desired end; this might even include knowing where to go without the need to cast a spell or perform a meditative practice.  Insight into the question presumes that, since the DM knows the answer, the player might gain knowledge from the DM as to how to best word the question the player wishes to ask (which may yet not in itself provide the full answer).  Note the DM does not provide the actual question, only the best wording.

Recruiting aid means knowing where diviners might be, or what cities that would be worth journeying to, or even where in the town a desired individual may be who could help.  Clarifying a meaning would be explaining a deliberately vague or incomprehensible reference.  A course of action would be how to best act right now towards resolving the riddle of the divined knowledge.

Full meaning is considered to cost the cleric’s entire knowledge points, and will not include knowledge of the best course of action.


Amateur:  identify manifestations
Authority:  guess purpose of manifestation, note evidence of manifestations, recognize gate within line-of-sight, utilize gate
Expert:  identify gate destination, locate gate within 800 yards, recognize hidden manifestation
Sage:  guess last time gate used, locate gate within 4 miles

Manifestations are creatures that were once alive, have lost the soul they once possessed or the soul has since translated to another plane of existence.  Manifestations include undead, demons, devils, angels, translated heroes, valkyries, frost maidens and most intelligent humanoid-like dwellers of other planes.  Such manifestations may be hidden, such as in possession of a living creature or in a form that would normally escape detection.  Take note that ‘recognition’ is not detection; it is the power to know what a thing is once it’s evil, or other evidence, has been detected.

Identifying a manifestation means to have a name to give to the form, once the manifestation is seen.  Noting evidence of manifestations is done by having found places where undead and other creatures have passed, and thus recognizing that passage.  This does not work as a detection spell.  Guesses provide approximate knowledge, so that rather than saying something happened at midnight three days ago, the knowledge would be given as, ‘three or four days ago.’

Gates within line-of-sight can be directly approached and utilized.  Gates can be located by experts and sages by methodically moving towards a disturbance that they are able to detect.  This is a slow process, allowing a movement of no more than 10’ per round while attempting to locate.


Amateur:  define morality, distinguish good and evil
Authority:  name and exact location of principal worshipper, recognize ritual, know myth
Expert:  judge belief, know god’s general purpose, recognize intervention
Sage:  know god’s immediate purpose

Gods are distinguished from demi-gods as follows:  gods are not knowable in the sense of possessing personalities, failings or compulsions; they do not have a ‘location,’ nor any corporeal form that can be conceived.  Gods are outside the ordinary construct of existence, even that of the outer planes.  Therefore, knowledge in this study relates to greater ‘truth,’ rather than the movement or conflicts occurring between lesser immortals.  Gods do not need to worry if their cults survive or if their worshippers are persecuted, and are therefore more concerned with a wider view of all existence.  Another way to think of it is that demi-gods occupy the planes of existence; gods create the planes of existence.

I have very few gods.  There is the Christian god, the Mohammedan god, Shiva ... and beyond that, perhaps one or two of the old gods of Cthulhu.

Defining morality means knowing absolutely whether or not something is right or wrong; the other players, or characters, and their opinions don’t matter.  The cleric KNOWS for a fact that something is wrong.  Distinguishing between good and evil can be accomplished when encountering a dilemna between moral paths (not physical ones).  The cleric, of course, is not constrained by their knowledge.

The principal worshipper of any god is of course a public figure, unlike the leader of a demi-god’s cult.  The location is up to the moment, as the cleric  has insight into where they would be at a given time of year, or according to rituals that manage the lives of such persons.  Recognizing rituals includes wider knowledge of why it is being performed, what time of year it occurs and what the ritual is meant to accomplish.  Know myth is to call upon a story about the god that may relate to something that is occurring now.

Judging belief is to determine or detect the amount of piety in a follower of their god.  Knowing the god’s general purpose would be for the long term, perhaps the next ten years, as changes occur in an area; knowing the immediate purpose might reveal a prophet that is just coming to light, the imminent occurrence of a war or pogrom, or similar changes to the religious landscape.  Recognizing an intervention would be any moment where the god’s direct influence has, say, changed a die roll, caused something to appear or otherwise changed the ongoing fabric of reality in some specific way.

Heraldry, Signs & Sigils

Amateur:  royal heraldry, regional heraldry, standard motifs
Authority:  artisan’s sigils, noble heraldry
Expert:  decipher coded sigil, heraldry of noted families, recognize glyph
Sage:  heraldry of secret societies, meaning behind glyphs

Indicates primarily what the cleric would recognize regarding the images that appear in dress, upon buildings, on items or elsewhere.   The knowledge does not enable to cleric to automatically find such things, but only to interpret them once they have been seen.


Amateur:  identify from reference, know acts
Authority:  know if living or dead, know location, key abilities and resources, retell detailed myths
Expert:  identify associates, recognize heroic traits
Sage:  sense accomplishments in the bearing of others, location or destination of a hero’s soul upon death

Recognizing a hero’s name from a reference about something someone did is simply, “Ah, that was so-and-so.”  Knowing an act does not mean knowing the whole tale; Hercules killed the lernean hydra.  How?  That requires an authority.

Knowing the present location of a hero means only generally; the location where a hero will go upon death, or where a dead hero has gone (Elysium, Heaven, Happy Hunting Grounds) is a deeper, more profound knowledge.  Key abilities would be what a hero was able to do, or what resources (magic items) they possessed.  Associates are living people who aided or knew the hero, if that is possible—it wouldn’t be if the hero were long dead.

Recognizing heroic traits in others would be knowing from communication that an individual’s ability, or level perhaps, was far in excess of appearance.  Sensing accomplishments does not give details about what was done, only that the individual has clearly mastered something great (if they have), though that may not have been made known.


Amateur:  empires, wars
Authority:  biographies of great figures, events, regions
Expert:  biographies of lesser figures, cultures, diplomacy, trends
Sage:  conspiracies, plots, subversive diplomacy
History is not limited to times long past—even something that happened last week is still ‘history.’  The lesser historian may be consigned to details, persons or moments of change, but the greater historian begins to see sweeping trends (which would be what regions seem to have meant to do, or are meaning to do) or even be aware of conspiracies that lie behind the visage of what everyone else sees.

I expect this study, and what can be known at what level, to evolve considerably as the study is employed.

Law & Customs

Amateur:  civil laws, local criminal laws
Authority:  capital crimes, cultural moralisms and practices
Expert:  business law, property law, tariffs, taxes, trade
Sage:  jurisprudence, precedents, mediation

Knowing local criminal laws are those that typically pertain to the lowest class, and presuppose the character having had time to investigate ... ie., a day or two.  Civil laws are those regarding assault, minor destruction of property, slander, etc.

Capital crimes are more widely distributed, and are those for which death, amputation or an imprisonment of years is involved—which vary in detail according to how heavy is the penalty and how action is affected by religion or morality.

Business law et al allows a useful knowledge of the right amount to pay, the right palms to grease, the right manner of setting up a business, or knowing where and the means to obtain permits, etc.

Jurisprudence is to argue the meaning and scope of the law itself, why it was created or how it came to be.  Precedents allows a court trial to be dismissed or reduced to a lesser crime, something that would probably require a wisdom check to invoke (half wisdom or less to suspend, wisdom to reduce sentence, failure of check to have no effect on trial).  Mediation would be the cleric having the wherewithal to settle a dispute amicably between others simply on the basis of knowing how others in the past have faced a similar quandary.


Amateur:  aid healing, bind wounds, diagnose phenomenon
Authority:  attempt minor surgery, diagnose disease, identify treatment, mitigate poison
Expert:  mitigate condition, improve minor surgery, recognize fatal condition
Sage:  attempt major surgery

The most practical of studies, though not intended as a means to ‘cure hit points.’  The cleric has knowledge and some skill with regards to other medical conditions, such as disease, infection and elements that might require long-term healing.

Aid healing offers +1 hit points per day for individuals who rest for 24 hours in the cleric’s charge, taking note that it requires 5 points of skill to increase one patient’s hit points in this manner.  Binding wounds is a process that requires three rounds in my system; a cleric with a specialty in medicine can perform the action in two rounds.  Diagnose phenomenon means to be distinguish between an individual suffering from magic or supernatural phenomenon, or from a natural disease or illness.

A ‘minor surgery’ is anything that does not require interaction with an organ, the removal of a body part or other serious change to the body; it does include things such as removing a tooth, making an incision into the skin to remove a parasite, cutting away an attached monster or creature without doing harm, etc.  The ‘attempt’ is a roll against the cleric’s intelligence, adjusted by 1 for every 10 points of medical study the cleric has.  A failure causes 1 damage per level of the patient (as the damage is done to the whole body while prone, the skill and defensive ability of the patient is not considered, so the damage is more properly a percentage of the patient’s whole hit points ... and if the patient is already damaged, there should be a chance the patient will be killed).  If it seems that a removed tooth shouldn’t kill a patient, keep in mind that a badly performed removal might include an infection, that would.  If death is indicated, it will take place in 5d20 hours.

Diagnosing a disease does not cure it.  Identifying treatment only indicates what must be obtained from another source.

Poison in my world occurs as 1d8 damage per hit die of the creature delivering the poison, or specific damage caused by poisons obtained at the apothecary or self-created.  The damage of these poisons can be reduced by 1d2 per 10 points of study the cleric possesses.  Furthermore, poisons take 1d8 hours to affect the patient, with the actual damage done dispersed over the number of hours.  This can be extended by 1d4 hours per 10 points of study, increasing the chance that the individual can be gotten to aid before actually suffering the poison’s full effects.

Mitigate condition will lower the fatality of a disease by 1 degree, based on the disease table at the beginning of the DMG.  Improved minor surgery adjusts the bonus to intelligence to +1 per 8 points of study.  Recognizing fatal condition would be to know when a poison or disease (either natural or supernatural) is going to produce death (because damage from poison isn’t given up front, this is normally uncertain, as is fatality resulting from disease, which again is information I wouldn’t normally offer).

A major surgery is any procedure that can be performed with period tools and hands.  Success is like attempting minor surgery, except that there is always 1d4 damage suffered per level of the patient, and failure causes 1d10 damage per level.  Success is a roll against intelligence, with a +1 modifier per 50 study points of the cleric.

Outer Planes

Amateur:  morality, recognize on sight
Authority:  envision map, navigate, laws, pecking order
Expert:  dominion concerns, recent events, terms of settlement
Sage:  path to harmony, transubstantiation

Clerics may be familiar with up to one outer plane per 10 points of study—this must be recorded.  It must be understood that virtually all knowledge acquired in this study is obtained through visions and enlightenment, gained through meditation and insight.

Morality is a clear understanding of the plane’s moral code, intentions and principles.  To recognize on sight, the character must actually be there, but upon arriving can definitively state that the plane has been reached.

Envisioning the map only provides knowledge of the relationship between places; finding one’s way, or navigating, is a separate knowledge.  There are far fewer laws upon each of the outer planes, being simplifications of morality, so it is a much smaller subject than the elsewhere-described study of Law & Customs.  Pecking order is the social heirarchy that defines who is in authority over whom, and why.

Dominion concerns would be the ongoing development of the plane, for they do alter their natures, though slowly.  The planes change shape and size continously as the power of gods or demi-gods waxes or wanes with belief.  Recent events are exactly that; meaningful changes that have happened recently.  These do not happen day to day, so the cleric would only be aware of them once they have occurred.

Terms of settlement are the requirements and expectations of those who might choose to continously dwell—while remaining alive—upon the outer plane in question.

The path to harmony would be the changes necessary for the character to enter the actual heirarchy of the plane.  Transubstantiation is the ability to retain a physical self on two planes of existence simultaneously—it is not so much a means of travel, but rather a means of duplicating oneself so as to gain experience from both existences.  This can be helpful in gaining knowledge or insight about matters pertaining to both the prime material and the outer plane.  A cleric can transubstantiate to one plane per 30 points of study, and once having transubstantiated there, the action cannot be retracted.

Philosophy & Ethics

Amateur:  baptism, burial, counsel, marriage, preach
Authority:  annulment, consecration, dedication, eulogize, investiture,  vows
Expert:  consecration of ground, ordination, panegyrize
Sage:  excommunication, glorify

The study is primarily that of religious philosophy, practice, pastoral work and the like, and not what we would usually think of as Greek or Enlightenment philosophy.

To preach is to deliver a sermon that convinces an audience to recognize for a brief time moral truth, right conduct and worthy leadership; the cleric is able to influence one listener to cease wrong action (such as those resulting from fear, anger, impatience, greed, laziness, envy, lust, etc) and to take right action (in keeping with the moral code of the cleric’s religion) for the space of an hour.  One person may be affected per point of study, once a minimum of 10 study is accumulated.  Persons encouraged to action will participate in so far as their morale allows them (morale being very low for most people).

Counsel requires an hour of effort from the cleric, but will encourage listeners, for a day, to change their faith (in which case, the cleric’s spells will be effective), to give up addictive substances and forego acts of habitual vice or criminality.  The success of the a counselling session is a percentage equal to the cleric’s  study points.  With ten successful counselling sessions, a cleric will be able to encourage an individual to embrace the cleric’s religion (take note that a head of a family, clan or otherwise would bring more than just one reformed soul).  Counselled individuals must be willing; this requires they fail a wisdom check (wisdom +1 per level above first).  A successful series of counsellings need not take place consecutively, and failed sessions have no relevance against eventual success (which could take years).

To eulogize is to make  meaningful the death of a family member or comrade to bear significance.  The cleric is able to cause up to 1 person per five points of study to directly approach the cleric and seek counselling that day, and to increase the chance of success for counselling by 10 points.  The cleric is also able, if wished, to ‘stir up’ listeners, up to 1 listener per point of study, to acts of violence for a period of 1 hour.  Attack dice are increased by +1 and morale is improved by +2.  The cleric, nor anyone perceived as being connected to the cleric, can be directly instrumental in the death of the person that has died, but an NPC that has fallen in battle beside the cleric is worthy to be eulogized over.

A panegyric is a lofty oration full of praise for an individual that has died.  To panegyrize, the death must be of someone no less than 5th level, who has been counselled at least once by the cleric, and who has participated in a public capacity, and who is therefore known to all who will listen.  The panegyric need not be oral; it may be written and distributed, but it must be made available somehow to the chief heirarch in the region (a baron, noble, etc.).   The panegyric’s purpose is to produce a feeling of fidelity, and gain for the cleric an entitlement that frees the cleric from that noble’s soveriegnty.  If successful, the cleric is then released from the bounds of secular law upon the cleric’s land, and is thereafter bound only by ecclesiastical law; if the cleric has no land, a grant of 160 acres will be made available.  The % chance of success is equal to the number of study points.

To glorify is similar to panegyrize, except that the individual that has died must be of name level.  The spirity of the individual, so glorified, can thereafter be called upon for advice, knowledge, etc., from the plane of existence that individual has gone.  The individual need not have been of the cleric’s religion, but cannot be an upstanding member of another religion at the time of death (they can have been a non-believer of any religion).

Incorporated are various ‘ceremonies’ that were stand alone, but are not part of this study.  Note that most of them are available for amateurs and authorities, making it possible that they could be gained without the cleric actually needing to take philosophy as a specialty—but that now none will be available at 1st or 2nd level unless the cleric takes this as a specialty or at least as a field.

Baptism is a limited form of bless spell which is granted to an individual of no former religion, bringing that individual into the cleric’s religion.  Recently baptized persons will receive a +1 save vs. attacks for a period of one week.  Baptised persons will feel compelled to give tithes, once they have reached an age of maturity enabling them to earn an income.

Burial magically protects a corpse and bestows it with the blessing of the religious organization.  The body is shielded as if by protection from evil.  Those attempting to disinter the corpse must make a saving throw versus spell or stop and flee for ten rounds.  A corpse will not begin to decay for a period of one week after burial, so burial will extend the period over which the body may be raised by one day per level of the cleric.  Burial will also save the souls of those who may become undead through violating the dead; it will restrain undead that have been buried from rising for 1 hour per level of the cleric.  If burial should be cast upon a regenerating creature that has less than zero hit points, the act will kill the creature.

Marriage unites two persons in the eyes of the church; such individuals cannot divorce without an annulment.  Each will receive a +2 save vs. attacks when within 20’ of one another.  They confer a +2 attack roll if one or the other is clearly in sight and in danger, with a –1 attack role if separated and there is reason to believe the other is unsafe.  Marriage doubles the likelihood of successful fertilization.  Marriages of convenience, where it is clear that the partners do not love one another, will not confer any benefits or penalties.  Married persons cannot remarry without an annulment.

Annulment.  Releases individuals from marriage.  Typically, a cleric will be able to perform the rite, but will not do so on principle.

Consecration will transform a vial of ordinary water into holy water once per day, which will in turn remain holy for 1 day per level of the cleric.  Holy symbols may be consecrated so as to make them immune to damage or loss; prayer beads may be transformed so that the string will not break, no matter how much strain is placed upon it.  Consecration will also stop a berserking creature.  Up to one other item per level of the cleric may be granted a +1 save against elements; (weapons gain a 1 in 10 chance of resisting a break).  A cleric may consecrate 1 item per day.

Dedication allows a recipient formerly of another religion into the ranks of the casting cleric’s religion, making that person ‘reborn.’  The effects are as baptism.  Dedication only has a % chance of overcoming excommunication equal to the cleric’s points of study.

Investiture grants aspiring clerics the powers of clericism.  The individual must have the necessary fundamentals of education (effectively, the points of study that a 1st level cleric would have, as well as minimum abilities).  Upon being invested, the new cleric will be of 1st level.

Give Vows grants paladinhood to fighters who have the necessary abilities to perform in that stead.  No other former education other than fighter skills is needed (skills obtained by a variety of sub-classes such as soldier, mercenary, bounty hunter, outrider, etc.).

Ordination allows a priest to preside over a congregation, ensuring that members of the church within the cleric’s influence (those who have been counselled towards the cleric’s religion (for a day or permanently), or which have been granted to the cleric by the greater church.   Typically, clerics that are ordained of themselves or others are initially given a congregation of 40-70 persons.

Consecration of Ground purifies a site prior to the erection of a holy structure, regardless of the structure’s purpose.  The ground must be consecrated before the first sod is turned.  A religious edifice constructed on ground that has not been consecrated will slowly, but irrevocably fall into a state of disrepair and has a 1% chance per year, cumulative, of actually collapsing as a result of this oversight—the ground may not be consecrated as an afterthought.  Land destined for a graveyard or cemetery must also be consecrated, or else the dead interred there may rise as undead. The ceremony must also be used on a plot of land destined for use as a graveyard or cemetery; such an area would then turn undead each round with the same effectiveness as a cleric of the third level.  Burial places not so consecrated will begin to produce minor undead with a base chance of –20%, +3% per body interred, each month, unchecked by the power of burial.  If the chance of producing undead rises above 100%, the frequency will increase in proportion commensurate with the likelihood; i.e., 60 bodies are buried following a battle on unconsecrated ground.  The chance of an undead rising from this mass grave would be 160% per month, or 80% every two weeks.  The undead that will rise will be: a skeleton (01-60); zombie (61-90); ghoul (91-97); coffer corpse (98-99); or shadow (00).

Excommunication allows the cleric to anathematize individuals less than 2 levels below that of the cleric, for immorality, at the cleric’s behest.  The cleric must remember that unrestrained use of excommunication weakens the strength of the god, and therefore will bring the attention of superiors within that religion.  The act of excommunication brands the excommunicant with a mark that any cleric of any religion can see; such persons are treated with disdain by legal systems where clerics may see the mark and judge the excommunicant as automatically guilty or unworthy of notice.  Even murdering an excommunicant may bring only a light penalty, or no penalty at all.  Excommunicants cannot receive any benefits from spells cast by members of their former religion.  Excommunication can be mitigated with atonement.

Politics & Geneology

Amateur:  recent events, royal succession
Authority:  diplomacy, nobles, portfolios, rulership trends and practices
Expert:  conspiracies, pregnancies, subversive diplomacy
Sage:  family secrets, plots, state secrets

Recent events would be anything of note that has happened within the kingdom where the cleric presently resides.  Royal succession would also be a breakdown of the local royal family’s history, going back as many generations as this family has been in control (there would also be knowledge of the previous families that have ruled going back a century per 10 points of study).

Diplomacy is the relations between local states.  Nobles gives biographical knowledge about those in the local kingdom.  Portfolios describes who is in charge of what national services, such as the army, the navy, finance, foreign affairs, etc., as well as ambassadors to the largest kingdoms in the world (those with a population of greater than one million).  Ambassadors are only shared between countries with diplomatic relations.  Rulership trends & practices are those activities which the royal family supports, or is seeing forward, such as wars, changes in domestic authority, changes in the treasury or the law and so forth.

Conspiracies includes an awareness of groups that are subversive to the local state, not their specific activities.  Knowledge of how to get in touch with such groups through signs, or locations one might start, would be known also.  Pregnancies includes knowledge of who is, or who is trying to be, or who can’t become pregnant, as well as knowledge about miscarriages or bastard children; however, this knowledge only pertains to instances where no threat to the actual crown or succession exists.  Such knowledge would be included under plots, which are any actual ongoing attempt to change something criminally within the local kingdom.

Subversive diplomacy includes out-of-state organizations seeking to bring about the death or removal of the king, or to initiate wars.  Family secrets are usual details about noble and royal families that would be damning, terrifying or revealing of allegiances or purposes.  State secrets is not merely knowledge of what the state intends to do, but also atrocities that have been done, or practices that are or have been carried out by people in power.

Religious Architecture

Amateur:  purpose, search
Authority:  durability, minor design, origin, use
Expert:  major design, reconstruction
Sage:  supernatural design

Origin allows knowledge of the makers.
Purpose includes the recognition of any feature within a temple or church, as well as the meanings behind cairns placed as landmarks, monuments, tomb markers, astrological tools, etc.  Use would in turn allow the understanding of how to tell time, predict events, create holy water
from fonts, etc., including any object which was built for religious/supernatural purposes.

Search includes the power to recognize from the lay of the land, or from the interior of a religious building, where special rooms or features might be located.  The % success of doing so, without needing to actually explore the building, is equal to the cleric’s points of study.

Minor design would be the laying out of buildings such as temples, churches, chapels, baptistries, monastaries, cairn circles, cenotaphs and so on.  Major design would focus upon cathedrals, squares, grand mausoleums, pavilions and palaces (the last primarily secular, but built upon the same basic principles).  Supernatural design would be the construction of buildings to produce a specific supernatural influence, such as has been built at Angkor Wat, the Kaaba in Mecca, Stonehenge and so on.  Supernatural influences resulting from architecture are varied (bringing power to the state or religions) and rarely last for more than a century.

Durability is the recognition of a standing structure’s integrity, defining the maintenance necessary and its endurance.  Reconstruction allows the faithful rebuilding of structures that are threatened with destruction, or reasonable facsimiles to things that have been destroyed, working from drawings or personal experience.