This is something that’s been on my mind for a long, long time. Though I don’t actually intend to use it in our game, I wanted to write it up and get it out there for some feedback.
I think it’s no secret that a lot of folks have various issues with the cleric class. Despite the fact that my first-ever PC was a cleric (who killed a vampire in his first adventure) the class has never set real well with me for a number of reasons. First of all, I’m not particularly interested in the mythilogical religious aspects of the class; my games are generally fairly light on such things. Secondly, the real place for the class in the game seems sort of up in the air; some see clerics as medics while others see them as undead specialists. I’ve always looked at them as mystic warriors akin to Jedi Knights, but even that is a stretch, particularly considering the class’s weapons restrictions. Finally, I believe the experience point requirements for the class are outlandishly low given the cleric’s capabilities.
Several years back, helped by the lack of variable weapon damage in Swords & Wizardry White Box, I planned to remove the restriction on edged weapons and make clerics the mystic warriors I’d always envisioned them to be. Unfortunately, our S&W:WB game petered out and the opportunity was lost.
Now we’re playing 1e AD&D and not only is the cleric still a problem in my mind, it’s been compounded by the more-than-slightly redundant paladin. My second PC, for what it’s worth, was a paladin, but I’ve never really been a big fan of the class.
So I’ve pondered a solution that not only removes the redundancy but addresses what I dislike about the cleric: combine the two classes into one new class that mostly covers what the two original classes stand for. In a move to further distance the religious connections of the cleric class, I’ve decided to call the new class paladin. Besides, there is lot more historical precedent for the name than the standard cleric and it just sounds cooler.
Anyway, here is a draft of what I’ve come up with. I’ve written it up in 1e format and style as if it were in the PHB and I’ve left the religious aspects intact as I know most games make much more use of that sort of thing than ours does.
It retains much of what the original paladin has, and I hope it hits a good middle ground that will be potentially useful to some who dislike the cleric. My thinking is that, in most cases, anywhere it says “cleric” in the books should be read as “paladin,” with most of the weapons and items for fighters also available for this new class. (I’m sure that there are conflicts that I’ve not thought of and I’d appreciate anyone pointing them out.)
What I’m really uncertain about is the XP requirement scale, but any feedback will be very welcome. I’ve stuck with the standard paladin scale for now, with HD and most paladin abilities knocked down a bit but spell casting added at 3rd level. I think it’s probably in the right ballpark, anyway, but would not hesitate to tweak it if good reasons were given.
As I’ve said, we aren’t actually planning to run this class in our game; I’m trying hard to run a mostly-BtB AD&D game these days and though I’d love to incorporate this class, it just doesn’t fit in with what I’m after.
UPDATE: Due to conflicting file names, I think some people were getting only a link to the PDF and missing the blog post. I’ve fixed that now, and apologize for the confusion.