SHAPESHIFTERS: The Lord in the Pit

Introduction Lord Blot is a sentient sphere of annihilation. It maintains a low profile in a remote area of a larger kingdom, where it enjoys both limited anonymity and territorial independence. Local rulers know it exists, sometimes referring to it as the Lord in the Pit or the Floating Tyrant, but they also know that they […]

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SHAPESHIFTERS: Farron, King of Baubles

Shapeshifters is a new series on nonplayer characters. These NPCs aren’t literal shapeshifters. Instead, they fall into the “shapeshifter” archetype described by scholars of myth like Joseph Campbell. We’re talking about the Professor Snapes and Walder Freys of the world. Shapeshifters are characters motives are hard to make out, who might side with the good guys in […]

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Fracture Your God

You can jazz up the diversity of clerics in your world without adding pages and pages of gods — if you allow for multiple (even conflicting!) belief systems about the deities you already have. Deities in fantasy RPGs are often sketched out in rigid, one-note ways. Imagine for a moment the typical campaign-next-door. Its storm god Thorzeus is Chaotic Good, his […]

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Raicho the Recusant

An Experiment with Narrative Because character is best revealed through narrative, I thought I’d present most of this installment of Dice Unloaded in story form. It’s an experiment. Raicho the Recusant—fourth and most controversial in my ongoing series on reskinned clerics—is a divine mercenary, fiercely independent and beholden to no single god. Instead, temples hire him, […]

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Mitra, Daughter of Masks

When I first proposed the idea of a cleric whose divine powers came from being a demigod — a half-deity — one of my good friends, also a long-time gamer, took exception with the idea, contending that a demigod character with entry-level (first-level) abilities might be fine for a novel, or for fiction, but that […]

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The Book-Knight In his response to the first article of this series, Wallace Cleaves argued that Jedi may be better represented as clerics of The Force than as any other class (yes, including the monk, though it’s a close call). This time around I’m going to go a step further: Gandalf isn’t a wizard. He […]

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Galatherina the Relic-Bearer

  Once you’ve chosen a deity, consider your cleric’s relationship to that god. Did you enter this service willingly? Or did the god choose you, impelling you into service with no regard for your wishes? The 5th-edition Player’s Handbook, page 57 It’s funny how often lines like the one above get overlooked as players and […]

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Tremble! I Am the Mini-Me of Thor!

Freeing Clerics from their Character Straitjackets I usually DM. However, when I play, I will play darned near anything. I once played a merchant. This was during the 2nd edition of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. The typical game settings had no “merchant” class, of course. Dark Sun added a “Trader” class in a supplement, but we weren’t playing […]

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