Noticed this bit in the AD&D Players Handbook (pg. 40) on clerics getting their spells:

Note that the cleric might well be judged by his or her deity at such time, as the clerk must supplicate the deity for the granting of these spells. While the deity may grant such spells full willingly, a deed, or sacrifice, atonement or abasement may be required. The deity might also ignore a specific spell request and give the cleric some other spell (or none at all). Your Dungeon Master will handle this considering a cleric’s alignment and faithfulness to it and his or her deity. [emphasis Kilgore’s]

I’m sure I’ve read that passage many times before, but I sure don’t remember it. We knew that clerics were required to remain in good standing with their patron deity, but I don’t ever recall the DM simply ruling that spells weren’t granted. As for clerics taking too many cure light wounds spells, here’s the solution, I guess.

12 Comments to “Not Quite What You Asked For”

  1. ze Bulette says:

    Damn straight. Hell my clerics don’t even GET a spell at 1st level. If those fools wanted to pick their spells they should have tried out for magic school, not joined the seminary! Serously though, it’s good to have things like this occasionally brought back to attention. I imagine there are many DMs who would have appreciated the sentence just after yours having been emboldened or italicized.

    • Kilgore says:

      Damn straight. Hell my clerics don’t even GET a spell at 1st level.

      LOL. I started with AD&D so I always thought that the no spell at 1st was weird. In retrospect I sort of like it. It certainly helps explain the ridiculously low XP requirements for clerics.

  2. Stuart says:

    I wonder how many DMs have actually used that rule. I sort of like it — if you have more specific type deities in your campaign.

    • Kilgore says:

      That’s a good point. We usually (though not always) used a sort of “generic good deity” type scenario rather than a specific mythos of gods and godesses.

  3. Roger GS says:

    Never used it. If a cleric broke alignment, no spells, rather than chump spells, was the order of the day. Apart from punishing alignment breakers, leaving a rule like that in the hands of the DM was just awkward. It’s like having them decide damage in combat instead of roll it. It’s a half-assed way of flirting with the realization that clerics should treat their spells like gifts and miracles rather than predictable, mundane power-ups.

    • Kilgore says:

      I think we DID use the “no spells for you today” approach a few times. I do agree that it’s ripe for abuse as written.

  4. daenralworld says:

    I don’t remember ever using that rule – but we did rule that clerics could “petition their god” for the spells as needed, rather than preparing them ahead of time – and I do recall a cleric being ignored by his god for a time when he was acting, shall we say, less than cleric-like. I could see the potential for jerk-DM abuse, though…

  5. David says:

    Yep its in there! I actually STILL use this rule in all my dnd/pathfinder games. It allows me the DM to give a helping hand if the players are having a rough time of things. For example if they player has been playing his cleric correctly(good or evil) and is taking healing spells but I know they’re coming up against a fight with a Medusa, I can supplant a flesh to stone(r) in the daily allotment of spells which might give the players a heads up. OR I can just be a dick DM and of course do the same thing when they are going to fight some goblins just to f’ with the party throwing them a little red herring. Who knows maybe their deity is a mischievous one who likes to f’ with their minions. 😉

    -david
    http://www.d4d6d8d10d12d20.com – My Game blog
    http://www.d4d6d8d10d12d20.com.....eview.html – Sneak Preview of My Homemade Elevation/Depth Markers.

  6. Jack Colby says:

    David brings up a good point… that rule is great for allowing a DM to help out the players when perhaps they don’t know what to expect, but their god does. Sure, the rule could be abused… so what? The whole game is set up such that the DM could abuse the hell out of things. The key is to game with a DM you trust to be fair, not to neuter the game by removing anything that gives the DM authority.

    • Kilgore says:

      The whole game is set up such that the DM could abuse the hell out of things. The key is to game with a DM you trust to be fair, not to neuter the game by removing anything that gives the DM authority.

      You’re absolutely right.