Cleric Domains as Common Talents

Yesterday I described how I might convert sorcerer bloodlines to cornerstone talents. Cleric domains are a defining feature of the cleric class, but are not such a fundamental element of a character’s makeup: a cleric has more than one while a sorcerer has only a single bloodline, other classes that use domains, and each domain offers somewhat less to the character than a sorcerer bloodline. As such, they are better suited to be common talents.

Cleric Domains in PRD

Cleric domains offer several things to clerics.

  • Domain spells (one per spell level; a cleric gets an extra spell slot per spell level that can only have a domain spell prepared in it, but this is not a function of the domain itself).
  • Two domain powers (one at first level, one at a higher level — usually 6th or 8th, but sometimes a different level).
  • Some domains add a skill as a class skill, such as the Animal domain granting Knowledge (nature) as a class skill

This is rather less to work with than a sorcerer bloodline, but it is after all a common talent.

Cleric Domains in Echelon

Clearly domains do not offer nearly enough to be comparable to cornerstone talents. Each one is something a cleric might learn about a facet of her god, but still a relatively small piece.

  • Like sorcerer bloodlines these are clearly caster-oriented, but they are not cornerstone talents. Each  tier gives a +1 training bonus to casting.
  • If a domain grants a skill as a class skill, the Basic tier will grant training in the skill (+4 to checks and counts as ‘trained’).
  • The 1st-level domain power will be gained at the Expert tier.
  • Domain powers will be gained at tiers appropriate to their level, per Converting RSRD Abilities to Echelon Talents, more or less)
    • 4th- and 6th-level powers will be gained at the Heroic tier.
    • 8th- and 10th-level powers will be gained at the Master tier.
  • Domain spells will grant knowledge of and access to three spells per spell level.

Even though domains are ‘only’ common talents, this is still pretty light. Every common talent should offer something notable at each tier (above Basic, at least; Basic can e pretty sparse). As written each tier gives a training bonus to casting and knowledge of a few spells… nice, but not particularly interesting. Two of the tiers give a domain power.

This means that the Heroic or Master tier should grant an ability, and the Champion and Legendary tiers should each grant an ability. For the purpose of this post I will look to an earlier document based on feats presented in Agents of Faith (published by Living Imagination) for ideas.

I can also look to feats that have domains as prerequisites (such as the Animal domain being a prerequisite of the Subdue Animals feat), but since I’m on my lunch break I’m going to do it the quick and dirty way — I’ve got my notes from Agents of Faith handy.

Example: Animal Domain

Let’s try the direct conversion first

Tier Benefit Spell Knowledge
  • Trained Handle Animal
  • speak with animals (1 round/day)
  • +1 caster training bonus
  1. three orisons
  • speak with animals (5 rounds/day)
  • +2 caster training bonus
  1. calm animals, two more
  2. hold animal, two more
  • speak with animals (9 rounds/day)
  • Animal Companion (one tier lower)
  • +3 caster training bonus
  1. dominate animal, two more
  2. summon nature’s ally IV, two more
  • speak with animals (13 rounds/day)
  • Dire (bite and animal senses)
  • +4 caster training bonus
  1. beast shape III, two more
  2. antilife shell, two more
  • speak with animals (17 rounds/day)
  • Animal Immunity (sanctuary)
  • +5 caster training bonus
  1. animal shapes, two more
  2. summon nature’s ally VIII, two more
  • speak with animals (21 rounds/day)
  • Call of the Wild (group wildshape)
  • +6 caster training bonus
  1. shapechange, two more
  2. three not yet determined

As with the Aberrant bloodline in yesterday’s post, I had to make a few adjustments. The speak with animals ability in PRD is usable for “a number of rounds per day equal to 3 + your cleric level”. I don’t have classes to have levels in, but the tier itself works as a passable indicator of domain power and development. I made the number of rounds per day equal to the first level of the domain, and removed the “3+” because the first level in the tier is already higher than what that would amount to in PRD.

The PRD presents the Animal domain as granting Knowledge (nature) as a class skill, but Handle Animal seems a more likely fit, so I changed it.

I still needed abilities for Master, Champion, and Legendary tiers. Looking at Agents of Faith

  • Master: ‘Dire’, granting a +6 divine bonus to Strength and Constitution scores (which I don’t have), and a bite attack that does 1d8 points of damage (if you are medium size), and a +4 divine  bonus to all Search, Spot, and Listen skill checks because of your sharpened senses… but you cannot cast spells. I think I’ll drop the ability score modifiers but keep the bite and improved senses (and add a bonus to initiative checks).
  • Champion: ‘Animal Immunity’, making yourself immune to all attacks from all animals for 10 minutes per character level. I think instead I might treat this as a constant but limited sanctuary — animals must make a save to attack you unless you attack them first (and in practice I would treat this as “animals favor other targets unless provoked”, because I don’t want to roll saves all the time).
  • Legendary: ‘Call of the Wild’ (I don’t much care for the ‘Perfect Specimen’ ability): up to one ally, follower of your god, or follower of your god’s allies per level can change (as wildshape) to an animal of their choosing. The animal form chosen cannot be more than one size category larger or smaller than their natural form. The new form lasts for up to one hour per person transformed. Someone who has changed form can change back at will, but this ends the effect for that person.

These will do for now, I think.

Closing Comments

I’ll have to try a few more. I find that the guidelines I have been exploring are still just that, that there is a fair amount of adjustment and judgement required in designing talents based on PRD material… but while they are kind of bumpy, they do have shape and structure.

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