Eclipse d20 – the Sacerdos Pastor (Sacred Shepherd) Package

Rabbi Ashkenazi

To exorcize or not to exorcize, that is the question!

Most character builds, power packages, and classes, focus on adventuring. After all, that’s one of the primary themes of the game. On the other hand… 99% or more of the people in the setting are NOT going on adventures. They stay at home, they gain few levels, and they take care of their lives, children, and communities – and it’s sometimes interesting to consider characters with abilities along those lines.

In a world filled with supernatural menaces, and magical diseases, and without too much in the way of technology, the villagers and homebodies will still need magic. In realms where the influence of the spirits of nature and the gods is often ANYTHING but subtle, they will still need an intermediary – and that role will often fall to the village priest.

Such men do not need fast magic for use in combat, or skill with weapons, or practice in wearing armor. They need to be able to intercede with indifferent spirits, to comfort and support the ill, to ease the pains of the dying, to bless flocks and fields, to perform religious rituals, and to teach children.

They also need to do all that at very low levels, and often as a part-time priest. Paradoxically enough, that makes this high-efficiency package; it may not be focused on “adventuring” as such, but it’s relatively cheap and offers plenty of abilities which can supplement the an adventurers more immediate abilities rather nicely – or be expanded upon later.

So the abilities in this package include…

Curate of Light: One level of Priestly Package Deal Spellcasting, Specialized and Corrupted for one-third cost/the user has no control over his or her spell selection, the beings who actually bestow the spells tend to only refresh the user’s spells during formal religious ceremonies (weekly at best) or when they opt to give the user visions of places where his or her services would be useful, the user always gets the domain powers of Psychic Focus (Witchcraft I or – if the user already has that – any one psychic feat the user is otherwise qualified for) and Priestly Ritualist (Ritual Magic/Legends of High Fantasy style, Specialized in Clerical Rituals, with [9 + 3x Int Mod] memorized minor rituals) rather than the powers associated with whatever two domains he or she selects. The user gains Spell Conversion (healing spells) and domain spell slots normally (3 CP).

A Sacerdos Pastor may be in touch with the powers of higher realms – but he or she does not rely on them; their training focuses on developing their own inner power and on tapping into the powers of the world around them, rather than drawing massive energies from the outer realms to use in battle. A Pastor’s usual rituals will include a Blessing for the Dying (to send them easily and painlessly on to one of the more pleasant afterlives or reincarnation as they prefer), a Healing Purification (to help with poisons and diseases), Psychic Focusing (to provide temporary access to another “witchcraft” psychic power), a Protective Blessing for children, a Ritual of Marriage, a Warding Rituals to help keep Monsters and Disasters from the area, one for Repelling Vermin and Preserving Food, and an Initiatory Vow to help initiate new Pastors. Clever (and well-read) Pastors may know many further rituals.

This is, of course, probably THE best non-exploit bargain to be found in the system; the first level of the Clerical Magic Package includes a whole bunch of goodies – but it also means making some pretty major commitments.

Enlightened Discipline: Witchcraft II (normally providing Glamour, the Inner Eye, and Healing) with the Duties and Rituals pacts paying for Summoning and either Dismissal or True Prosperity (6 CP).

As his or her development continues, a Sacerdos Pastor learns to project his or her thoughts across the planes – or into the inner reality of another spirit to reinforce it. While there are many possible further gifts, most Pastors learn to either banish intruding spirits – although few have the inner strength for many such efforts – or (more commonly) to subtly enhance the fields and flocks of an entire village, bringing prosperity.

Guiding Spirit: Companion (Familiar) with the Spirit Fetch template, granting Occult Sense / Spirit Sense (it’s “master” can see and hear spirits), Specialized/guiding spirits are companions, allies, and teachers, with strong moral senses and opinions of their own. They tend to be quite independent, will insist that their bondmates live up to their responsibilities, and will take action entirely independently – or even against their bondmates wishes – if they feel that a situation, or their bondmates behavior, requires it. Perhaps fortunately, when they accept the link, they accept being limited by their bondmates abilities like any other familiar (6 CP).

As a Sacerdos Pastor continues to train, and reaches out across the planes, he or she will soon find a guiding spirit – often a prior Pastor – to mediate between him or her and the spirits of other planes, carry messages – and to walk with him the path of enlightenment.

Presbyter: +3 Skill Specialities in their particular Religion, in Performing Ritual Magic, and in Offering Wise Council and Advice (3 CP).

Unsurprisingly, a Sacerdos Pastor studies they mysteries of his or her faith – and learns to help others apply it’s truths in their own lives.

Spiritual Freedom: Occult Skill/Shadow Walking, +4 SP in it (Int Mod +2 Base), both Specialized and Corrupted/only applicable after physical death (2 CP).

Once A Sacerdos Pastor has developed sufficient self-discipline, mere physical death becomes a doorway to infinite worlds. It may take time and effort to transverse the realms – but they may walk between them and act as spiritual patrons for younger Pastors.

Symbols of the Faith: Enthusiast, Specialized for double effect (provides two floating character points), Corrupted for reduced cost/only for being invested in Relics, no single user may use more than one such relic at a time (2 CP). Create Relic, Specialized and Corrupted/only usable with points from Enthusiast, all relics must have sacred themes (2 CP).

While few Pastor’s possess great personal power, the art of creating external foci for it allows them to stretch it considerably – and to provide the occasional item to help others. Most Pastor’s make the following relic for themselves – if they don’t simply settle for a Power-boosting item.

Healer’s Pouch: Healing Touch with Improved, Switch, and +4 Bonus Uses, all Specialized and Corrupted; Requires several minutes of meditation in a light trance to activate – rendering the user very vulnerable to surprise while employing this ability. (8 CP / 1 CP as a Relic).

The full Sacerdos Pastor package costs a mere 24 CP – and thus may be obtained in it’s entirety at level one. That’s a good thing, since many Pastor’s will never get much beyond level one – and yet will still be able to guide and assist the people in their care. They may not be able to battle monsters directly – you still need adventurers for that – but they can deal with a wide variety of smaller problems.