My Homemade Dungeons & Dragons Class: The Priest

As you probably know, I love Dungeons & Dragons, and my favorite settings are historical (or, frankly, pseudo-historical) ones. Inspired by Scott Bennie’s amazing “Testament: Roleplaying in the Biblical Era” and by my current Ancient Mesopotamia D&D campaign, I hereby present a homebrew D&D class I’ve been working on for several months: the Priest, keeper of secrets, shepherd of the community, worshipper of idols!
The Priest is a totally unofficial, fan-created, no-relation-to-the-good-folks-at-Wizards-of-the-Coast D&D class which I’ve statted out up to 20th level, with several variant builds (chiefly the Idol Aspects through which the priest worships their god: Praisehungry, Resplendent, Mortifying, Ecstatic and Bloodthirsty). As I explain briefly in the PDF, the Priest is an attempt to transform the D&D Cleric class back into something like the archetype of the ‘mysterious high priest’ as seen in an earlier type of fantasy fiction. The Cleric is basically a crusader/undead-buster class at heart, a holy warrior, but there’s plenty of precedent in fantasy for a different type of holy character… one who’s mysterious, a master of illusion and enchantment as well as of healing, more like a wizard than a cleric. This, plus much inspiration and flavor from real-world iconodulic religions, equals the Priest!

This is something I’ve been working on for awhile, and it probably still needs more tinkering and playtesting (many thanks to Shanti, the awesomest playtester ever!). But it’s the kind of thing where you’ve got to just throw it out there and see if it sinks or swims and what people think. The Priest’s special spell focus — the idol — makes an interesting roleplaying challenge, and some campaigns might prefer to have priests as NPCs (antagonists perhaps?) rather than player characters. Do whatever you like with it, but let me know what you think! This has been a fun vanity project inspired by my love of D&D, and if you get some enjoyment out of it, and best of all can use it in your own game, I’ll be super happy.

UPDATE: SEPTEMBER 6, 2016: A much-updated version of the Priest is now available as the Priestess, a community-created D&D 5e product on Dungeon Master’s Guild! Please check it out and if you like it, throw me and the artist a few bucks!

Discussion (6)¬

  1. Mark says:

    I like the class and how it’s handled. It’s one of the most interesting and unique take on a divine caster (or new base class) than I’ve seen in a long time. It would definitely be a challenge for a PCs to use though. I have been looking into refining the pantheon in my current setting and the flavour of this class is too good not to incorporate.

  2. @Mark – Thanks! I’ve only had one PC playtest it (and he had to leave the campaign later); he enjoyed it, and particularly the RP/flavor opportunities of the “Bloodthirsty Idol.” The necessity of lugging around increasingly large idols is a definite turnoff for some players…. or OTOH, is it a roleplaying opportunity? ;) Limited mobility, and a rules-driven desire to attract a group of worshippers (particularly if following a Praisehungry or Ecstatic Idol), are part of the power/vulnerability trade-off I envisioned for the class.

  3. Mark says:

    It’s a nice trade-off. I have a few questions though.

    -Priest’s only get boons for performing the appropriate actions in combat but you don’t say how long those boons last. Do they expire at the end of the combat or can the Priest hold them until he wants to use them regardless of how many rests he takes until then? Can the Priest use a saved boon outside of combat?

    – The Enhanced Idol ability Healing Prayer seems somewhat weak. Taking an action in combat just to get the boon and then taking a second action to heal up 1d4 to 1d4+4 hit points seems very weak, especially when compared to the other abilities to choose from.

    – The Priest spell list mentions a new 1st level spell called Touch of Fertility but that spell isn’t in the document.

    Thanks, and again, great work.

  4. Rog says:

    Hi Jason, this isn’t about the Priest class, yet that looks great too. It’s about the DnD walkthrough maps.
    I’ve downloaded them all but would really love to see them printed, i know they exist as posters, but are there any plans to do a large format book with them all in, perhaps with some sketches and production notes?
    These maps are just so rewarding visually and historically they deserve to be perusable from the comfort of a chair, which you can’t do with a pile of posters!
    A kickstarter maybe? I’d be in for that, i haven’t got as much pleasure from an illustrators work since i found Matthias Adolfsson. Keep up the amazing work and fingers crossed for a book version. BTW is that a captain pugwash theme on the Isle of Dread map? Cheers. Rog.

  5. @Rog – Hi Rog, thanks for the email and the kind words!! Unfortunately my existing contract with Wizards doesn’t allow me to do the maps in a book format; it only allows prints, like the ones I’m selling. I’d love to do something like that, but at the moment I can’t promise it.

    About the Isle of Dread map, I’d actually never heard of Captain Pugwash! Thanks for introducing me to him!

    I’m working on a new map now, which also has some shipboard action, so more on that soon… and thanks again!

  6. Rog says:

    Hi Jason, well hopefully in the future. Or maybe you can produce a legally acceptable ‘multiple poster folder’ which has a spine to which all your posters are attached! Perhaps with a much thicker new poster either side? :)
    How about that with Captain Pugwash?, i should have clarified anyway, it was the legend in the top left, it’s in the spirit of the title pages in the books from the 60s and 70s. Anyway great stuff, all the best. Rog.