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The Priestess

Clerics. Heavily armored holy warriors who smite their enemies with divine power certainly exist in the ancient world, but the term “cleric” implies medieval clergy. Indeed, the first known use of the word was in 1621 AD. Therefore, in this setting, clerics are termed “war priestesses” and typically serve deities of war, storms, death, chaos, and victory. They are otherwise unchanged from the core rules.

However, many religious orders, such as the Vestals in Rome or the followers of Thoth in Egypt, could never take up arms and fight like a warrior. In fact the spiritual leaders in most societies are not warriors. They tend to be educated people who are not trained in weapons and armor.

Priestesses. As with every previous edition of the d20 system, there isn’t a class that accurately represents the religious leaders of ancient (and medieval) times who didn’t wear armor or use weapons. Therefore, we developed a class to represent the priestesses, seers, oracles, mantises, volvas, and prophetesses of the ancient world who, like wizards, dress in robes and rely upon magic and knowledge.

Some decide to aimlessly wander the countryside as vagabonds, sharing the message and power of their deity.

Design

What the 5e priestess gives up in combat ability, she gains in spell casting and special abilities. These changes are as follows:

  • Priestesses have d6 HD. They are not proficient with armor and are skilled with only a few of the simplest weapons.
  • Priestesses gain a preaching ability similar to the bard’s inspiration.
  • Priestesses may channel divinity more often than a cleric.
  • Priestesses can destroy undead of higher HD than clerics can.
  • The priestess spell list includes all cleric spells plus some utility spells from other classes. Priestesses also gain a few new combat spells to balance their lack of weapons and armor, detailed in Appendix I.

Through their connection with the gods, priestesses offer counseling to the faithful. This advice often comes in vague prophecies and enigmatic omens. They may read the scattered bones of dead animals, or divine the will of the gods through drug induced visions or by deciphering astronomical omens.

When creating a priestess, the most important thing to consider is which deity to follow.

See Table: Deities for the most common deities found in an Amazons or Valkyries setting. If your origin has been determined randomly, then the pantheon you have to choose from is determined by your homeland.

After you have selected a deity, consider your character’s relationship with her goddess (or god). How did she get involved with the temple? Was she chosen for her divine gift., or was she forced into that life? Did she end up there because she didn’t fit in any place else? What is her current position among the members, and what are her responsibilities? How does the community regard her? Does she have goals and ambitions? Do her desires coincide with her leadership’s (and deity’s) objectives?

Table: The Priestess
Level Proficiency Bonus Features Cantrips Known 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th
1st +2 Spellcasting, divine domain, preaching 3 2
2nd +2 Channel divinity (2/rest), divine domain feature 3 3
3rd +2 Destroy undead (CR 1/2) 3 4 2
4th +2 Ability score improvement 4 4 3
5th +3 Destroy undead (CR 1), font of inspiration 4 4 3 2
6th +3 Channel divinity (3/rest), divine domain feature 4 4 3 3
7th +3 Counter sermon 4 4 3 3 1
8th +3 Ability score improvement, destroy undead (cr 2), divine domain feature 4 4 3 3 2
9th +4 4 4 3 3 3 1
10th +4 Divine intervention 5 4 3 3 3 2
11th +4 Destroy undead (CR 3) 5 4 3 3 3 2 1
12th +4 Ability score improvement 5 4 3 3 3 2 1
13th +5 5 4 3 3 3 2 1 1
14th +5 Destroy undead (CR 4) 5 4 3 3 3 2 1 1
15th +5 5 4 3 3 3 2 1 1 1
16th +5 Ability score improvement 5 4 3 3 3 2 1 1 1
17th +6 Destroy undead (CR 5), divine domain feature 5 4 3 3 3 2 1 1 1 1
18th +6 Channel divinity (4/rest) 5 4 3 3 3 3 1 1 1 1
19th +6 Ability score improvement 5 4 3 3 3 3 2 1 1 1
20th +6 Divine intervention improvement 5 4 3 3 3 3 2 2 1 1

Class Features

As a priestess, you gain the following class features.

Hit Points

  • Hit Dice: 1d6 per priestess level
  • Hit Points at 1st Level: 6 + your Constitution modifier
  • Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d6 (or 4) + your Constitution modifier per priestess level after 1st

Proficiencies

Equipment

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

  • A quarterstaff or dagger
  • a priestess’ pack or (b) an explorer’s pack
  • a holy symbol

Spellcasting

As a conduit for divine power, you choose your spells from the priestess spell list.

Cantrips At 1st level, you know three cantrips of your choice from the priestess spell list. You learn additional priestess cantrips of your choice at higher levels, as shown in the Cantrips Known column of the Priestess table.

Preparing And Casting Spells The Priestess table shows how many spell slots you have to cast your spells of 1st level and higher. To cast one of these spells, you must expend a slot of the spell’s level or higher. You regain all expended spell slots when you finish a long rest.

You prepare the list of priestess spells that are available for you to cast, choosing from the priestess spell list. When you do so, choose a number of priestess spells equal to your Wisdom modifier + your priestess level (minimum of one spell). The spells must be of a level for which you have spell slots. For example, if you are a 3rd-level priestess, you have four 1st-level and two 2nd-level spell slots. With a Wisdom of 16, your list of prepared spells can include six spells of 1st or 2nd level, in any combination. If you prepare the 1st-level spell cure wounds, you can cast it using a 1st- level or 2nd-level slot. Casting the spell doesn’t remove it from your list of prepared spells.

You can change your list of prepared spells when you finish a long rest. Preparing a new list of priestess spells requires time spent in prayer and meditation: at least 1 minute per spell level for each spell on your list.

  • Spellcasting Ability Wisdom is your spellcasting ability for your priestess spells. The power of your spells comes from your devotion to your deity. You use your Wisdom whenever a spell refers to your spellcasting ability. In addition, you use your Wisdom modifier when setting the saving throw DC for a priestess spell you cast 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 priestess spell as a ritual if that spell has the ritual tag and you have the spell prepared.

Spellcasting Focus

You can use a holy symbol (see ” Equipment”) as a spellcasting focus for your priestess spells.

Preaching

You can inspire others through rousing, dramatic oratory. To do so, you use a bonus action on your turn to choose one creature other than yoursElf within 60 feet of you who can hear you. That creature gains one Divine Inspiration die, a d6.

Once within the next 10 minutes, the creature can roll the die and add the number rolled to one ability check, attack roll, or saving throw it makes. The creature can wait until after it rolls the d20 before deciding to use the Divine Inspiration die, but must decide before the GM says whether the roll succeeds or fails. Once the Divine Inspiration die is rolled, it is lost. A creature can have only one Divine Inspiration die at a time.

You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Charisma modifier (a minimum of once). You regain any expended uses when you finish a long rest.

Your Divine Inspiration die changes when you reach certain levels in this class. The die becomes a d8 at 5th level, a d10 at 10th level, and a d12 at 15th level.

Font of Inspiration

Beginning when you reach 5th level, you regain all of your expended uses of Divine Inspiration when you finish a short or long rest.

Counter Sermon

At 7th level, you gain the ability to use words of power to disrupt mind-influencing effects. As an action, you can start a sermon that lasts until the end of your next turn. During that time, you and any friendly creatures within 30 feet of you have advantage on saving throws against being frightened or charmed. A creature must be able to hear you to gain this benefit. The performance ends early if you are incapacitated or silenced or if you voluntarily end it (no action required).

Divine Domain

Choose one domain related to your deity, such as Life, Nature, Knowledge, or Light. The Domains supplement features Death, the Sea, Fertility, and six other domains customized for this setting. Other domains are detailed in the core rules. Each one provides examples of gods associated with it. Your choice grants you domain spells and other features when you choose it at 1st level. It also grants you additional ways to use Channel Divinity when you gain that feature at 2nd level, and additional benefits at 6th, 8th, and 17th levels.

Domain Spells

Each domain has a list of spells—its domain spells—that you gain at the priestess levels noted in the domain description. Once you gain a domain spell, you always have it prepared, and it doesn’t count against the number of spells you can prepare each day. If you have a domain spell that doesn’t appear on the priestess spell list, the spell is nonetheless a priestess spell for you.

Channel Divinity

At 2nd level, you gain the ability to channel divine energy directly from your deity, using that energy to fuel magical effects. You start with two such effects: Turn Undead and an effect determined by your domain. Some domains grant you additional effects as you advance in levels, as noted in the domain description. When you use Channel Divinity, you choose which effect to create. At 2nd level, you can do this twice and then must finish a short or long rest to use your Channel Divinity again. Some Channel Divinity effects require saving throws. When you use such an effect from this class, the DC equals your priestess spell save DC.

Beginning at 6th level, you can use your Channel Divinity three times between rests, and beginning at 18th level, you can use it four times between rests. When you finish a short or long rest, you regain your expended uses.

Channel Divinity: Turn Undead

As an action, you present your holy symbol and speak a prayer censuring the undead. Each undead that can see or hear you within 30 feet of you must make a Wisdom saving throw. If the creature fails its saving throw, it is turned for 1 minute or until it takes any damage.

A turned creature must spend its turns trying to move as far away from you as it can, and it can’t willingly move to a space within 30 feet of you. It also can’t take reactions. For its action, it can use only the Dash action or try to escape from an effect that prevents it from moving. If there’s nowhere to move, the creature can use the Dodge action.

Ability Score Improvement

When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, 16th, 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 normal, you can’t increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.

Destroy Undead

Starting at 3rd level, when an undead fails its saving throw against your Turn Undead feature, the creature is instantly destroyed if its challenge rating is at or below a certain threshold, as shown in the Destroy Undead table.

Destroy Undead
Priestess Level Destroys Undead of CR…
3rd 1/2 or lower
5th 1 or lower
8th 2 or lower
11th 3 or lower
14th 4 or lower
17th 5 or lower

Divine Intervention

If your deity intervenes, you can’t use this feature again for 7 days. Otherwise, you can use it again after you finish a long rest. At 20th level, your call for intervention succeeds automatically, no roll required.

Beginning at 10th level, you can call on your deity to intervene on your behalf when your need is great. Imploring your deity’s aid requires you to use your action. Describe the assistance you seek, and roll percentile dice. If you roll a number equal to or lower than your priestess level, your deity intervenes. The GM chooses the nature of the intervention; the effect of any priestess spell would be appropriate.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Amazons vs Valkyries: The Priestess, Copyright 2021, Bloodstone Press

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