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Holy Clergy

Members of the clergy specialize in reclaiming lost artifacts, exorcising daemons and supernatural entities, and hunting down mages. They are defenders of sacred ground, healers who protect what they consider to be the divine good and, at the same time, executioners who remove anything they consider heretical.

They are the natural enemies of vampires and of anything that considers human-kind its enemy or prey.

Holy Sacraments

All special powers used by members of the Holy Church can be considered sacraments. These special abilities are powered by running magical energy or ki through holy objects that represent their faith, most commonly being run through bible pages bound to the skin. Crosses, bibles, holy artifacts and such also function properly as a focus for this type of magic.

Creating a Holy Clergy Member

Your main concern when creating a clergy member is deciding what your character considers their responsibilities to the Holy Church to be. You can fill a wide variety of roles in a party depending on the chivalric order you choose, but each one tends to come with a set of goals and outlooks. Is your character someone who hunts down heretics? If so, do you consider those who abuse magic to be your main focus or do you consider creatures like undead and daemons to be your primary concern? Maybe your character’s interest is in investigating or reclaiming a holy relic lost by the church.

Knowing your place in the organization is a key starting point to determining how you might run your character. It goes without saying, but building upon that you should also consider the nature of your faith. Are you part of the Holy Church because you truly believe in their teachings or does it serve some other end? You do not need to be a devout follower to use holy sacraments as long as you know the prayers and incantations used to unlock them (though members of the clergy would say otherwise).

The Holy Clergy in Regular Campaign

You can use the clergy relatively easily in the realms by simply using them as a variation of paladins or clerics. They can follow any god and still function properly. If the church in question does not have any text to use as a spell focus then their black keys and ash locks still work, and you can use a regular religious symbol or focus in their place.

Their attitude toward mages can remain the same under the context of being those who hunt down or specifically oppose magic users, but their primary identity can still be daemon hunters. It is also very simple to incorporate those who hunt and reclaim religious artifacts for their gods.

Rather than having to explain their brutal methods, they can be treated as if they are the darker underbelly of their church, performing deeds that even their leaders may not know about. Since the context of the religion would have changed, you don’t need to do as much legwork to explain away their methods. In regards to secrecy, they may still prefer to operate in the shadows and so do not wish for their order to be discovered by the public.

Table: Holy Clergy
Level Proficiency Bonus Features Sacraments Spells Known 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th
1st +2 Chivalric Order, Holy Sacrament 2
2nd +2 Fighting Style, Monster Slaying Weapons 2
3rd +2 Spellcasting 2 3 3
4th +2 Ability Score Increase 2 4 3
5th +3 2 5 3 1
6th +3 Holy Sacrament (2nd, 3rd), Order Feature 4 6 3 1 1
7th +3 Ability Score Increase, Extra Attack 4 7 3 2 1
8th +3 4 8 3 2 1 1
9th +4 Apoptosis Silver, Order Feature 4 9 4 2 2 1
10th +4 Holy Sacrament (4th), Miracle of Faith 5 10 4 2 2 1 1
11th +4 Ability Score Increase 5 11 4 2 2 2 1 1
12th +4 Evasion 5 12 4 2 2 2 1 1
13th +5 5 13 4 3 3 2 1 1 1
14th +5 Ability Score Increase, Order Feature 5 14 4 3 3 2 2 1 1
15th +5 Holy Sacrament (5th) 6 15 4 3 3 2 2 1 1 1
16th +5 6 16 4 3 3 2 2 1 1 1
17th +6 Ability Score Increase 6 17 4 3 3 2 2 1 1 1 1
18th +6 6 18 4 3 3 2 2 1 1 1 1
19th +6 Ability Score Increase 6 19 4 3 3 2 2 1 1 1 1
20th +6 Archival Sacrament 6 20 4 3 3 2 2 2 1 1 1

Quick Build

There is no obvious quick build strategy for the clergy, as the various orders cause the class to go in different directions.

The knight fights similarly to a fighter, and so you should prioritize Strength for them. The executor is similar to a rogue and specializes in dealing damage, and usually benefits from Dexterity. The Exorcist is an undead-hunting class that focuses on durability, so Constitution is key for them. In any case a clergy member should have a high Wisdom stat, preferably your highest, to boost their spellcasting. You can take the acolyte background to quickly throw yourself into the role.

In some circumstances, your GM may be willing to use paladin or cleric subclasses in place of the chivalric order.

You may do this because you want to use a specific oath or want to run a clergy member in a setting that does not immediately allow for the regular lore of the clergy. There is no way to future-proof against interactions with every possible oath, so if you do, make sure you remain aware of if their abilities work together. If a subclass gives a special use of Channel Divinity, the clergy member can gain one use of specifically that ability (not turn undead) that they regain when they complete a long rest, then a second use of it when the paladin would gain a second use as well. They do not gain the regular channel divinity feature unless they fully multiclass into a class that has it.

Class Features

As a member of the clergy you have the following features.

Hit Points

Hit Dice: 1d8 per Holy Clergy level
Hit Points At 1st Level: 8 + your Constitution modifier
Hit Points At Higher Levels: 1d8 (or 5) + your Constitution modifier per Holy Clergy level after 1st

Proficiencies

Armor: Light and medium armor, shields; Weapons: Simple and martial weapons
Tools: None
Saving Throws: Wisdom, Charisma
Skills: Choose two from Athletics, History, Insight, Medicine, Persuasion, Religion

Equipment

You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:

  • (a) an Ash Lock shortsword, (b) any ash lock simple weapon or (c) any martial weapon
  • (a) scale mail , (b) leather armor or (c) chain mail
  • (a) 20 black keys, (b) a light crossbow with 20 bolts or (c) any simple weapon
  • A priest’s pack and clergy’s divine focus
  • Gold pieces equal to 80 (4d4 x 10) gp.

Chivalric Order

You belong to one of the different orders charged with different duties and expressing them through different levels of violence and brutality, they all protect the Holy Church from different heretical elements.

Members of the clergy choose a specialization and dedicate themselves to it. They are all focused on guarding the integrity of the Church and spreading the word of God in different ways.

Holy Sacrament

Apart from their regular divine spellcasting, those of the clergy dedicate specific sacraments to mind. These special prayers are tattoo’d into their skin using either magical materials that renders it invisible except for when in use or, if the clergy member decides, are written visibly. These passages are lines of scripture that they read out to activate and unleash the miracle stored within.

At 1st level you can choose two 1st level spells from the paladin spell list. You gain these spells as sacraments. You can cast each sacrament once without expending a spell slot.

You regain expended sacraments when you complete a long rest. Your sacraments are cast as the highest level spell slot you have access to, but cannot be cast at a level above 5th level.

You gain another two sacraments when you reach 6th level: one of 2nd level and one of 3rd level. You then gain another sacrament when you reach 10th level which must be a 4th level spell. You gain your final sacrament when you reach 15th level, which must be a 5th level spell.

Each time you gain a level as a member of the clergy you can choose to exchange one of your sacrament spells for another spell from the paladin spell list. When you exchange a sacrament, it must be for one of the same level as the one you’re giving up.

When you cast a sacrament spell that targets a creature that is undead or a monstrosity, any attack rolls you make have advantage and any saving throws they make against your spell effect have disadvantage.

Fighting Style

At 2nd level you adopt a style of fighting as your speciality. Choose one of the following options. You can’t take a Fighting Style option more than once, even if you later get to choose again.

Archery

You gain a +2 bonus to attack rolls you make with ranged weapons.

Defense

While you are wearing armor, you gain a +1 bonus to Ac.

Dueling

When you are wielding a melee weapon in one hand and no other weapons, you gain a +2 bonus to damage rolls with that weapon.

Fleeting Speed

Whenever you hit a creature with a weapon attack on your turn, you can use your bonus action to move 10 feet without provoking opportunity attacks from that creature. This movement does not count against your base movement speed.

Throwing Expert

Whenever you make a ranged weapon attack with a thrown weapon, you do not suffer disadvantage on the attack roll as a result of attacking between the weapon’s medium and long range.

Two-Weapon Fighting

When you engage in two-weapon fighting, you can add your ability modifier to the damage of the second attack.

Monster Slaying Weapons

Starting at 2nd level, your weapon attacks using silvered weapons gain the benefit of your holy sacraments, and are counted as magical for the purposes of overcoming damage resistances.

Spellcasting

Clergymen utilize a special thaumaturgical system called the holy sacrament to perform miracles, though they are in effect just another form of magecraft. They use special power found in scripture, sometimes referred to as “fragments of light”, to manifest the power of God. Some members of the clergy accomplish this by passing magical energy through their holy text.

See chapter 10 of the player’s handbook for general spellcasting rules. Holy Clergymen can learn spells from the cleric spell list, but sometimes will borrow spells from the paladin spell list.

Spell Slots

The Holy Clergy table shows how many spell slots you have to cast your cleric spells. To cast one of your cleric spells of 1st level or higher, you must expend a slot of the spell’s level or higher.

You regain expended spell slots when you complete a long rest.

For example, if you know the 1st-level spell cure wounds and have a 1st-level and a 2nd-level spell slot available, you can cast cure wounds using either slot.

Spells known of 1st Level and Higher

Starting at 3rd level, you know three 1st-level spells from the cleric spell list. Each time you gain a clergy level you learn one more spell from the cleric spell list. Also, each time you gain a level as a member of the clergy you can choose to switch one of your known spells for another one. All spells you learn must be of a level you are capable of casting.

You cannot learn the spell raise dead, or spells of 7th level or higher through your spellcasting feature.

Spellcasting Ability

Wisdom is your spellcasting ability for your cleric and paladin spells, as the power of your holy sacraments is derived from your faith in your order. You use Wisdom whenever a cleric or paladin spell refers to your spellcasting ability. In addition, you use your Wisdom modifier when setting the saving throw DC for a cleric or paladin spell and when making an attack roll with one.

Spell save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Wisdom modifier.

Spell attack modifier = your proficiency bonus + your Wisdom modifier.

Ritual Casting

You can cast a cleric spell as a ritual if that spell has the ritual tag and you have learned it.

Spellcasting Focus

You use a holy symbol, holy text (such as a bible), black keys, or ash lock item as your spellcasting focus for cleric and paladin spells.

Ability Score Improvement

When you reach 4th level, and again at 7th, 11th, 14th, 17th, and 19th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two ability scores of your choice by 1. As usual, you can’t increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.

Extra Attack

Starting at 7th level, you can attack twice instead of once when you take the Attack action on your turn.

Apoptosis Silver

Starting at 9th level, whenever you deal damage using a weapon attack from a silvered weapon to a creature that has the regeneration feature, or is benefiting from an effect that causes it to regain hit points at the start of their turn, the creature does not regain those hit points at the start of their next turn. If your damage reduces the creature to 0 hit points it cannot regain hit points using its regeneration feature until it regains at least 1 hit point by some other means.

Miracle of Faith

Starting at 10th level, whenever you complete a short rest you regain your expended 1st and 2nd level sacrament spells.

Evasion

Starting at 12th level, you have become quick-witted and learned how to avoid damage when it is possible. When an effect forces you to roll a Dexterity saving throw that will deal half damage on a successful save, you take no damage on a successful save and half damage on a failed one.

Archival Sacrament

Whenever you complete a long rest, you may exchange any number of your Holy Sacrament spells (as per the Holy Sacrament feature) for others from the paladin spell list. You must always have two 1st level sacraments, and one each of 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th level sacraments.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Trial of Heroes: The Clergy (5e Class) Copyright 2020 Logan Laidlaw; Author: Logan Laidlaw .

Section 15: Copyright Notice
Trial of Heroes: The Clergy (5e Class) Copyright 2020 Logan Laidlaw; Author: Logan Laidlaw.