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Old 02-26-2023, 06:18 PM   #1
Luke Bunyip
 
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Default [DF] Dwarven Cleric and ancestor worship?

I'm in the process of setting up a campaign in a fantasy setting, with all the PCs being dwarves. One of my players wants to play a dwarven cleric.

Problem is, I could build an entire pantheon, but I'm lazy. But what if dwarven religion is focused on ancestor worship? I'm currently looking at the cleric template in DF 1 Adventurers, and the tweaking suggestions in DF 7 Clerics.

I'm thinking of something similar to Dune's Bene Gesserit memory reawakening , but would love to hear of any other approaches that folk have previously used, etc
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Old 02-27-2023, 03:53 AM   #2
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Default Re: [DF] Dwarven Cleric and ancestor worship?

My initial thoughts are basically to combine elements of both the Artificer and Urban priest templates out of DF Clerics.

However, the Initiate template in DF Henchman looks promising.
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Old 02-27-2023, 06:42 AM   #3
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Default Re: [DF] Dwarven Cleric and ancestor worship?

I've certainly run ancestor worshipping dorfs in the past - a bit of colour being that the infant naming ceremony and the funeral rite were disturbingly similar to one another from an outsider's perspective. Of course to a dorf that was only to be expected - both simply transfer someone between the living and not-living branches of the family.
Similarly the gap between deity and culture hero was minimal - fame and descendant count made for rank and, in a Tolkenian way, reincarnation was expected and looked for.
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Old 02-27-2023, 07:55 AM   #4
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Default Re: [DF] Dwarven Cleric and ancestor worship?

Take a look at Racial Memory. Seems like a good fit.
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Old 02-27-2023, 08:00 AM   #5
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Default Re: [DF] Dwarven Cleric and ancestor worship?

You could also use the granted by ally modifier on some powers to represent being able to have an ancestor "walk in" and use their skills through your body.
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Old 02-27-2023, 09:00 AM   #6
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Default Re: [DF] Dwarven Cleric and ancestor worship?

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I've certainly run ancestor worshipping dorfs in the past...
<SNIP?>.
Nice bit of setting colour... Ta.

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You could also use the granted by ally modifier on some powers to represent being able to have an ancestor "walk in" and use their skills through your body.
This has so much potential. Nice bit of options for the player and/or me to explore.
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Old 02-27-2023, 09:03 AM   #7
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Default Re: [DF] Dwarven Cleric and ancestor worship?

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Take a look at Racial Memory. Seems like a good fit.
Very much so. Will intergrate.
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Old 02-27-2023, 10:16 AM   #8
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Default Re: [DF] Dwarven Cleric and ancestor worship?

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You could also use the granted by ally modifier on some powers to represent being able to have an ancestor "walk in" and use their skills through your body.
If you go with this option, it also implies that spells like Borrow Skill & Lend Skill are on the spell list.

If you're building spell lists, take a look at the Body Control, Communication & Empathy, and Knowledge College spells. Any spell which could be reasonably emulated by having a friendly ancestral spirit temporarily lend powers, possess someone, etc. would be a candidate.

Necromantic College spells which allow the caster to communicate with the dead, banish undead, or travel to the Afterlife and return would also be possible if ancestors can communicate with the cleric, interfere with undead spirits, or act as psychopomps.

If the cleric can physically embody ancestors to fight for him, take a look at the Create Servant and Create Warrior spells or the Planar Summons spell.

If Dwarves are inherently "creatures of Earth" (or whatever) and ancestral spirits return to the element from which they came, Earth and possibly certain Movement College spells are on the list.

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Old 02-27-2023, 10:55 AM   #9
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Default Re: [DF] Dwarven Cleric and ancestor worship?

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If Dwarves are inherently "creatures of Earth" (or whatever) and ancestral spirits return to the element from which they came, Earth and possibly certain Movement College spells are on the list.
In the Noble Dead Saga series of books, dwarves engaged in ancestor worship. Their greatest people - often but not always warriors (one of the most revered ancestors was known as Feather-Tongue, and was basically a bard/poet) - are the Thanae, and when a Thanae (it seemed to be the same word when singular or plural) died, if they were sufficiently great, then the Stonewalkers would come for the body to be "taken into stone" (those who the Stonewalkers didn't choose were cremated IIRC, just like common dwarves when they die). Being "taken into stone" essentially meant their body was transformed into a stone statue and kept down in the crypts; those dwarves were thought to eventually become the Eternals (like Feather-Tongue), essentially the closest thing the dwarves had to gods*.

The Stonewalkers themselves have a variety of abilities, but the most notable (and where they get their name) is that they can fuse with - and pass through - stone. They can even bring passengers, although such passengers cannot breathe during travel, so this only works for short jaunts (I think one of them actually weaponizes this in a flashback, basically trapping an opponent in stone to suffocate, but I may be misremembering). Fusing with stone also makes them immune to any sort of life-draining attack (such as is favored by several types of undead), and also allows them to affect insubstantial undead (and the stone wall/floor/whatever they are in contact with when fusing becomes impermeable to such as well within a certain range).


*There were also the Fallen, those who either were given the rank of Thanae inappropriately (Avarice was noted to have basically managed to purchase the rank) or who basically betrayed the dwarves and/or their principles in terrible fashion (Thalluhearag, initially translated as Lord of Slaughter, was a warrior Thanae who more-or-less singlehandedly destroyed a major dwarven city he was meant to be protecting during an ancient semi-apocalyptic war; when Wynn finally sees his name written rather than hearing it pronounced, she realizes a more accurate translation is Lord of Genocide). They basically serve as the devils/boogeymen in the dwarven religion, their names permanently struck from the record with only their titles - their primary sin - remaining. Interestingly, there's some implication that at least some of the Stonewalkers are descended from, and called to service by, the Fallen, perhaps as a means of serving penance for their ancestors' deeds.
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Old 02-27-2023, 11:39 AM   #10
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Default Re: [DF] Dwarven Cleric and ancestor worship?

I didn't think to cover ancestor worship in DF 7, because I tend to think of it as a completely different thing to generic dungeon fantasy polytheism, but I can see the logic. Of course, each cleric might be assumed to focus on a specific ancestor who was noted for mastery of healing arts, or of stone, or of defending the community, or of warfare, or whatever, then pick your cleric type appropriately, but that feels like a bit of a cop-out. Brewing up your own spell lists should be more interesting, if more like work.

One possibility would be to base your clerical powers on the Reincarnation Power from Thaumatology (pp. 206-207). It's mostly fairly low-key stuff, but I've found Modular Abilities (Skills Only) useful enough to cause a little GM surly muttering.
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