Tuesday, 4 August 2009

[New Class] Elephant Priest

Elephant Priests are the clerics and religious leaders in the Hundred Kingdoms. They direct the worship of the Elephant Demon and channel his rage and hunger in battle.

The cult of the Elephant Demon is a new one, but now widespread in the Hundred Kingdoms - where until a century ago each city-state had its own pantheon of spirits. Now the people say that the Elephant Demon has devoured all those other gods and will not stop until he has devoured the world. It is rare to find a place where the cult has not transplanted the old native beliefs.

The cult's practices are byzantine and rarely spoken of aloud. They involve much sacrifice; often victims are people captured in battle. The unfortunates have their limbs and ribs broken and are then thrown, dead or alive, into a pit called the Elephant's Mouth, to rot. Usually these pits are hugely elaborate and decorated all around with golden statues.

Elephant Priests are battle leaders. Unlike clerics in other lands they do not have the ability to turn undead or cast spells. Instead, they can only use the fury of the Elephant Demon to smite their opponents.

Elephant Priest

Prime Requisite: Charisma
Other Requirements: Strength of 9
Experience Bonus: +5% for Charisma of 13-15; +10% for Charisma of 16+
Hit Dice: d6 per level up to 9th; starting at 10th level, +1 hit point for level.
Maximum Level: 36
Armour: Any, shields permitted
Weapons: Any
Special Abilities: Smite Attack (see below); Rage of the Elephant Demon (see below); Hunger of the Elephant Demon (see below).
Experience Levels: As Cleric
Saving Throws: As Cleric

Smite Attack

Elephant Priests may channel the power of the Elephant Demon to blast their opponents. This power can only be used once on one set of opponents. The player should declare to the DM that he wishes to use his Smite Attack in the same way that a cleric's player declares an attempt to Turn Undead.

The Smite Attack affects 1d8 HD of monsters; this rises to 2d8 HD at 4th level and 3d8 HD at 8th level. Victims lose 33% of their remaining hit points, whatever that number is; monsters with 3 HD or more may save vs. death to negate the effects.

Rage of the Elephant Demon

Using this power gives the Elephant Priest a bonus of +1 to his attack rolls and +2 to his damage rolls for 1d3 hours, and a bonus to hit points for that period (+d4 at 1st level level, +d8 at 4th level, +2d6 at 8th level). When those 1d3 hours have passed the Elephant Priest immediately loses his hit point bonus; if this results in his hit points total passing below 0, he dies.

Hunger of the Elephant Demon

Using this power allows the Elephant Priest to sap the energy of his enemies. For the next 1d3 hours, he can attempt to grab an opponent (successful attack roll) and drain 1d6 hit points from the victim. This rises to 1d8 hit points at 4th level and 2d6 hit points at 8th level. As soon as a successful drain has been achieved, the power cannot be used again for 24 hours.

[Feedback appreciated. Too powerful? Underpowered?]


  1. i think the whole "overpowered" v "underpowered" thing is a mislabel. what magic users should have--and what smart players who play them want-- is not power but OPTIONS.

    in this regard, i think the elephant priest should have WAY more spells, but not necessarily more powerful ones. just ones that differentiate them all more and give the priest a wider range of ways to surprise people.

    wonderful concept though, as usual.

  2. Hmmm. Seems underpowered at first glance.
    Smite is about as useful as Turn Undead. It is useable vs everyone but there is a saving throw for all but very low level opponents.

    Rage is powerful and might lead to the priest stealing the fighters limelight. The bonus HP will mean a tiny bit more attention paid to healing resources but that will not be an issue past 3 - 4 level.

    Drain is underwealming. It's a cause wounds spell with a better trigger.

    These are nifty and flavorful abilities but even when compined with free weapon and armor choice they do not compensate for the loss of spells. Overall this feels more like a devout fighter than a priest. I wonder how this religion became dominant as I suspect that a generic cleric of equal level could take this priest apart. I really do not see these guys as triumphing on a battlefield. Take 30 or so Elephant Priests of mixed levelsand set them against 30 or so generic clerics of equal levels and the clerics will destroy them. Spells are a powerfull edge.

    Now if these are the only clerics in the game or if the other cleric choices are equally low powered then this will work fine.

    my 2 bits

  3. Excellent feedback.

    I didn't explain the Hunger of the Elephant Demon spell properly, I now realise - as well as draining the hit points, the Elephant Priest can then use them to replenish his own. So a little different to cause wounds. But still both of you seem to be making the same point, which is that more spells/options are really needed.

    What I might do is allow the Elephant Priest to use a set of Magic User, Cleric and Druid spells as well, and perhaps come up with some more unique powers.

  4. "and will not stop until he has devoured the world."

    I think this may be the key element of the E-demon. Hunger.

    Just playing withn the idea.
    1.Priests can turn undead. However any undead effected rather than fleeing etc. will begin to eat. This means that they will mindlessly attack anything moving and/or edible in the area.
    Target order.
    a) uneffected undead
    b) other foes of the priest
    c) bystanders
    d) companions of the priest
    e) effected undead
    f) the priest.

    2. Priests can instill a devouring rage in their troops/companions. This grants +1 to hit +2 damage and +1 hit die for 1d3 hours. Thise effected will never fail a morale check and have +2 saves vs mind/emotion effects. However no spells, weapons, items, or special abilities may be used by those effected as they are consumed by unreasoning hunger. Those effected will move directly twords the Priests enemies and attempt to grapple and eat them.
    3. Priests can instill this hunger in their foes. This is the primary method they have used to destroy other religions. Is is difficult to maintain a faith when all the priests have been eaten by their flock.
    4. Priests use a d4 for hit points but they may use Hunger of the demon freely. The priest gains 1/3 of the hit points drained as healing.
    5. Priests must eat at least three time the normal ammount of food of they will begin to starve. The demon is eating them from within.
    6. Priests gain their level plus their con minus ten in magic resistance. This applies to ALL magic effects including healing magic. Effects that trigger the resistance are consumed by the god.
    For every effect consumed the resistance rises by 1%. Potions consumed by the priest must also check vs resistance.
    7. No rat or ooze will ever attack a priest as that are symbols of hunger.
    8. It is a sin to leave food for others. This is another reason for the elephant church's military success. Their armies, like Napoleon's live off the land and tend to be more mobile than those of their enemies.

    I think 8 is enough. I think I may have wandered away from your conception of the Elephant God.

  5. Ok, so I lied.

    9) Priests must check resistance whenever they eat. Roll under MR means the Elephant ate the food. This results in a 1% increase in MR.
    Untimately Priests will be unable to eat at that point they can hold off starvation by draining those around them using Hunger of the demon to replace hits lost to starvation.
    10)Priests gain bonus xp for the rititual destruction/consumption of foodstuff. Say 2-3 times the gp value of foodstuff destroyed.

    Hmmm anybody want a peanut?

  6. Will: I really like most of that and may actually use quite a bit of it - in which case you'll definitely get a credit.

  7. Thank you.
    I'm glad you liked it. Consider it yours. I really love running with ideas like this. I don't really play much old school so take any of my numbers wth an Elephant of salt.
    I generally like the idea of priests becoming more like their gods as they grow in power. I think this makes them more than magic users with an odd spell list and a hammer fetish. The Dark Sun elemental clerics were a source here.
    I expect there will be balance issues as well. I am worried that this priest will steal the fighters limelight. Mind you we have yet to see what you can do to the fighter so the point may be moot.

  8. Will: One of the best things about 2nd edition was the Specialty Priest - I love the way spell spheres, chosen weapons and granted powers worked: no more boring old "healer with a mace".

  9. I love the idea of granted powers. They really set clerics apart from the other classes. The problem is when you also give clerics excellent spells, good hit dice, good weapons and armor. You get an overpowered class. Outside of settings like Dark Sun and Ravenloft 2-3.5 clerics were just too spiffy.
    I tend to restrict weapons and armor pretty heavily for priests. Unless fighting is a major thing for their deity then they are restricted to cloth or maybe leather. Even fighting gods will only grant use of chain.

    Back to the Elephant god. I see the priests wearing leather or hide armor. I don't see many of them in metal. The Elephant is begrudging of resources.Besides they live in a jungle, it gets warm in metal. Their main weapons would be blunt to simulate the massive trauma a trunk or limb strike can inflict.I see stone headed maces carved into elephant heads myself. Spears will also be common to simulate tusks a hooked pole arm would also be used to represent the mahout's goad. Ranged weapons would mot be used by priests. They like to get up close and personal.