By Thilo Graf
This pdf from Open Design is 20 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving 17 pages of content, so let’s check out the new tools for the cleric, shall we?
The pdf starts by providing some basic advice on playing a cleric before going on to introduce 3 new domains with 2 subdomains each: The Alchemy, Apocalypse and Prophecy domains along 10 new sub-domains – 4 of which belong to the new sub-domains. The new domains pleasantly surprised me, as the unique abilities make the domains viable and cool options, thus I would have loved to see all of the subdomains covered this way, but oh well. When compared to Divine Favor: Druid, these domains all come with more enticing, creative ideas and especially the Alchemy and Apocalypse domains just rock hard. Kudos where kudos are due!
After that, we are introduced to new archetypes and seeing how I was left singularly unimpressed by the archetypes in the druid-installment, I was quite surprised to see some neat ideas here: The ascetic, a kind of beggar-cleric and a rather complex archetype can use his abstinence and sacrifice spells to grant his body enhancements and even boost her physical scores. Neat idea, though especially the ability to do the latter and the LACK OF RESTRICTIONS make this problematic. Seeing that the ascetic can wear magical items and suffers from no restrictions regarding her possessions, double-boosting attributes and exploitation-possibilities are rather rampant here. A code of conduct/restrictions would have helped here.
I did like the enthusiast, a spell-less cleric blessed with holy anger and divine defences, especially for low-magic settings. For high magic, the lack of spells is rather restricting. The Exorcist lacks the ability to exorcise demons, but can detect evil and gets some additional spontaneous spell casting…. …. …Do I have to comment that one? the Flagellant and Theosophist on the other hand are interesting – in contrast to the KQ-flagellant-PrC, this archetype is a cleric that can power spells with self-inflicted damage and the Theosophist is a learned, bookish caster. The other archetypes like vatic, weapon-sworn etc. left me rather unimpressed.
We also get 8 variant channelling effects that mostly are cool and well-thought out/balanced and provide for a fun time. i wish ths section had been larger/covered more domains.
The pdf closes with 6 new spells, half of which deal with luck and a particularly interesting one that lets you ignore symbols and alter them as well as a very smart spell that lets you decrease the duration of on-going magical effects – very cool and rather smart, although I don’t get why Inquisitors don’t get access to this particular spell.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adheres to a two-column, parchment-like look. The pdf does not come with a printer-friendly b/w-version, but with extensive bookmarks. Artworks are stock and fit the theme nicely. This one is hard – on the one hand, I really liked the new domains and subdomains, though I think the section could have been even better. I also liked the new variant channelling effects and have no complaints about the smart, cool spells. However, I do have a complaint about the greatly varying quality of the archetypes, which range from cool to “how do you forget to include exorcisms with an exorcist?”. Some. like the Vatic (a divination-specialized cleric) are exceedingly bland, their niche filled without an archetype by standard clerics or…well…diviners and oracles. When all is said and done, none of the abilities truly confused me, but I didn’t notice one singularly bold design like the ability of the Druid to turn into a flock of creatures. Nevertheless, this installment of Divine Favor felt like it was slightly more compelling than the one focused on the druid. My final verdict will thus be 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3 – an ok buy, especially for cleric fans looking for some additional options.
Divine Favor: the Cleric is available from: