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Ultimate Character Creation: The Cleric

Tags: #Character Build Crusader  #Character Build Hero  #Character Build Mods  #Roleplaying  #Ordinator  #SE Rank:Novice  #Trekster 
  • November 6, 2018

     

    Introduction:

    This is the second installment in my ongoing mission to create a comprehensive class system for Skyrim. The freedom to play whatever character you choose is paramount, but it’s the tandem of this with the guidance of Class systems which allows imagination and roleplaying to take over. First I explored the Paladin (as well as the Knight,  Necromancer and the Barbarian. This time we will be exploring the class of the Cleric. We will discover their divine origins, the source of their power, and the ways to play the Cleric as well as their Religious Rites and spell options.

     

     

    My interpretation of this class borrows heavily from Dungeons and Dragons, as well as some Elder Scrolls lore and general fantasy concepts. The majority of this insight comes from the 4th Edition of DnD, which had a definition of the Cleric I much preferred to the 5th edition. I also am borrowing directly from the 1st Edition’s mandate that Cleric’s can ONLY use blunt weaponry when it comes to melee combat. I find this fitting for the class. I have also included a crossbow as a starting option.

     

    Class Description:

    The Cleric is a divine representative of a deity, a church or some religious priory. They are ordained representatives, commanding a level of authority and veneration in their religious orders. They are keepers of religious tomes and leaders of the faith. Unlike the Paladin, the Cleric is appointed to their task. Whether their appointment is recognized by a priestly order or by a deity themselves, the most important moment in a Cleric’s life is the day they are ordained to perform religious rites.

     

    Your skill selection for this class should appear as follows:

    One-Handed

    Archery (Optional)

    Heavy Armor

    Restoration

    Enchanting

    Smithing (Optional)

    Speech

     

    The Source of the Cleric’s Divine Power:

    The primary skill of the Cleric is their Religion. It is their greater understanding of their faith or the way in which they embody it that they are viewed with such reverence by their peers. Players often confuse Paladins with Clerics but they are quite different. The people in their world can clearly tell the difference between a zealot and a respectable member of the clergy. Though they both employ holy magic, only one of these is chosen for their cause and that is the Cleric.

     

    The source of the Cleric’s power comes from their Ordination. This process can happen mostly one of two ways: Either they are formally recognized by a priestly order or by an actual deity.

     

     

    Ordination

    The source of the Cleric’s power comes from their ordained status. They do not receive powers from their deity but from their investiture or ordination to their deity. A ceremony or ritual is performed by a priestly order and this imbues them with something holy and healing. There are even Clerics chosen specifically by their deity and are ordained from on high. It should be noted that because of this the Cleric commands a great deal of admiration. Possessing a higher status than a lowly priest or Paladin, the Cleric is respected and their leadership followed. You will choose one of two Religious Rites options during this process and this will provide you with your spell list. (See Divine Ordination to complete this process.)

     

    Choosing a Patron

    An important part in any Cleric's journey is choosing a divine patron. It's important to consider that their patron may have, instead, chosen them. It may be a specific aedra or daera or a collection of deities, but the Cleric will definitely follow at least one deity. Your Cleric's backstory will also play heavily into the patronage your character makes. Perhaps there was a tragic event in their life that led them to their patron, or maybe they were visited by a goddess in a dream. Personalize your character and create a unique reasoning for their choice of deity. Study the aedric and daedric lords and choose carefully.

     

    Religious Rites

    The paths of the Cleric are determined by what Religious Rites they take, and their options are twofold: they will either choose the path of the frontlines Battle Cleric or the supporting role of the Heliomancer. The former is a warrior Cleric who wields holy magick to smite foes and turn undead. The Heliomancer uses sun magick to brand undead with their deity’s symbol and will recite holy incantations from the backlines to provide aid to their party in battle, never losing sight of their righteous cause.

    The Religious Rites designate the divine magick they are consecrated with: Purifying Fire or Cleansing Light. These abilities determine the bundle of spells entrusted to them by their deity and are used to bring about healing and righteous smiting.

     

    Ritual Spells

    Your Ritual Spells are your Novice starting spells in the game. Every Cleric has a choice between two packs of Ritual Spells to start the game with. These Ritual Spells will provide the foundation for the Cleric, the basis for their divine magick moving forward.

     

    Holy Symbol

    Your Cleric will use a holy symbol to channel their divinity. It is needed to invoke their lord and to enter battle with the ability to use magick. Each character must choose a Holy Symbol to carry on them - it may be an amulet for your chosen divine, or something else entirely that symbolizes your faith. Whatever your Holy Symbol, you must always carry it on you.

     

     

    Prayer

    The Cleric has a gift for Prayer. Ritual and ceremony are the preferred approach of the Cleric. While holding their Holy Symbols, Clerics will often recite a prayer before entering combat. This invokes their god and allows them to unleash divine magick in combat. Come up with a prayer that you can say to yourself or a short ritual that your character can perform before entering combat.

     

    Creating the Cleric

    As with any class, building the Cleric begins with the process of creating a backstory. You will want to give special consideration to what deity, church or order your character will be following. This will help to determine their process of Ordination and ultimately what their Religious Rites (or Spell Pack) is. Once you have done this, consider their Ordination, Religious Rites, Holy Symbol and Prayer ritual, all mentioned above.

     

    A quick guide to building the Cleric:

    1. Create a Backstory (What drove them to their faith?)

    2. Choose a deity/church/priory/order (Why this particular deity or group of deities?)

    3. Be Ordained (Choose your Religious Rites)

    4. Choose a Holy Symbol, Prayer and your starting Ritual Spells

    5. Choose a Holy Quest (a game long side-quest to unlock the master spells)

     

    Good luck, and may divines bless you!

     

    Divine Ordination

     

    Create the story of your Ordination and how you were bound to your deity or deities. (See above sections and Source of the Cleric’s Power for inspiration.)

    The Cleric will begin with:

    (a) A crossbow and 30 steel bolts OR a steel mace
    (b) Cleric Armour OR leather armor (See Mods)
    (c) 1 cure disease potion

     

    Choose your Religious Rites:

    1. The Battle Cleric

    (+) Rites of Purifying Fire

    > Learn Holy Damage and Divine Soul Trap at Level 10 (See Mods)

    1. The Heliomancer

    (+) Rites of Cleansing Light

    > Learn Sun Rune (Buy at Dawnguard Fortress, see Mods)

     

    Choose ONE pack of Ritual Spells:

    1. Lesser Ward & Wild Healing

    2. Bone Spirit & Circle of Strength



     

    Novice

    Healing

    >>Ritual Spells<<

     

    Apprentice

    Fast Healing

    Healing Hands

    Lamb of Mara

    Leech Seed

    Necroplague

    Turn Lesser Undead

     

    Adept

    Close Wounds

    Finger of Death

    Heal Other

    Sealed Resolve

    Stendarr’s Aura

    Turn Undead

     

    Expert

    Blood Boil

    Circle of Protection

    Grand Healing

    Nature’s Balance

    Repel Undead

    Resurgence

    Turn Greater Undead

     

    Master (Unlocked when you complete your Holy Quest)

    Bane of the Undead

    Breath of Arkay

    Circle of Death

    King’s Heart

    Meridia’s Wrath

    Worm Shroud

     

     

    ----------------------------------------------------------------

     

     

    Novice

    Healing

    >>Ritual Spells<<

     

    Apprentice

    Fast Healing

    Healing Hands

    Lamb of Mara

    Mystic Wind

    Steadfast Ward

    Sun Fire

     

    Adept

    Circle of the Moons

    Close Wounds

    Heal Other

    Repel Lesser Undead

    Stendarr’s Aura

    Tree Rings

    Vampire’s Bane

     

    Expert

    Channel Energies

    Circle of Protection

    Decompose

    Grand Healing

    Healing Blossom

    Repel Undead

    Turn Greater Undead

     

    Master

    (Unlocked when you complete your Holy Quest)

    Breath of Arkay

    Dust to Dust

    Godform

    Guardian Circle

    Infinite Light

    Meridia’s Wrath

     



    Holy Quest

    1. Divine Patronage - Visit 35 shrines, offer an enchanted item and a prayer.

    2. Scourge Undead - Kill 300 undead in Skyrim.

    3. Pilgrim’s Offering - Offer 12 aedric amulets at the chest atop High Hrothgar.

    4. Dark Conquest - Collect 7 daedric artifacts to destroy or utilize

     

    Your Cleric must choose a Holy Quest at the beginning of the game and cannot unlock the use of Master spells until they’ve completed their Quest.

     

    Mods

    Apocalypse - This spell expansion lends itself to the playthrough of both Cleric options, the Battle Cleric and the Heliomancer. The vanilla spells are great but don’t allow for enough roleplaying and different gameplay mechanics. Apocalypse fills the void by doubling the Restoration spell list.

    Cleric Armour & War-Priest of Stendarr - The Cleric Armour of the Divines mod allows for the Cleric to pick from a few armors dedicated to the divines. Another option is the War-Priest of Stendarr armor. The armor itself is not divine-specific in appearance and can be used for a variety of patrons.

    Holy Enchantments (For Battle Cleric) - A necessary addition for the holy fire damage and divine soul trap weapon enchantments. Battle Clerics opt for purifying fire, it is their Religious Rite.

    Ordinator - The roleplay possibilities are aplenty. For the Cleric, I have highlighted the Restoration spells that each build will use.

    Sun Rune (For Heliomancer) - A perfect and necessary mod for the Heliomancer Cleric. This adds a beautiful sun rune with a unique, HD texture to the game. Shining the light of the gods on foul undead has never looked so gorgeous.

     

  • Member
    November 6, 2018

    Sup, a cleric of Selune here. :D

    Jokes aside I 've usually played healers/clerics in games so it's nice to see this one up. It is always satisfying wrecking things with a mace and holy fire. That being said for some reason I could never get too much into roleplaying a cleric in Skyrim because I always found the lore behind the deities lacking a bit in depth compared to D&D.

  • November 6, 2018

    Clerics are the real MVP of classes. I love Clerics so this is a really nice guide to see put together mate, the two types of Cleric you've put together feel really quite different and I like the distinction rather than the more 'standard' approach of making a Cleric just absolutely badass at everything :) Also the Blunt Weapon restriction is great to see again because honestly it just makes sense.

    You know...what might be interesting (and I pitch this just as a question) but what do you think about the idea of people building off of what you've created here and turning these into...not quite a new style of content, but something with your Guides as the base and then people coming up with ideas that could build upon what you've created. I mean, I really hope that people create builds based off of these Guides at some point (because they're really awesome), so what I'm suggesting is a tad different. But let's say I had an idea for a third type of Cleric that differs from the Battle Cleric and Heliomancer... We'll call it The Luminious (mediocre name but works for now) for now. It's a Cleric Archetype that fully devotes itself to purging Undead and those that summon them, essentially throwing out a lot of the support spells and focusing almost fully on Sun and Fire Spells. Would you be opposed to me (or anyone else) writing that guide and sort of...growing out form this original guide?

    Hope that made sense, took a break from writing for a bit and that usually sends me off in all different directions :P But yeah, just a thought and if your opposed it's no issue or anything, just thought your concept here is really quite something and thought it'd be nice to have a chat about it :D 

     

    Either way, really awesome Guide and I can't wait to see more of them.

  • November 6, 2018

    Duvain said:

    Sup, a cleric of Selune here. :D

    Jokes aside I 've usually played healers/clerics in games so it's nice to see this one up. It is always satisfying wrecking things with a mace and holy fire. That being said for some reason I could never get too much into roleplaying a cleric in Skyrim because I always found the lore behind the deities lacking a bit in depth compared to D&D.

    Hey thanks! Wrecking undead abominations is such fun. 

    The lore for the deities is a bit light, I agree. It definitely leaves a lot of room for your imagination. That's something I'd really like to see Elder Scrolls expand upon, as well as giving us a Holy ability. Mods help a lot, but the vanilla game is really lacking in allowing one to play a Cleric. That's why I went straight for the holy builds. They needed a little boost :)

     

    Dragonborn2021 said:

    Clerics are the real MVP of classes. I love Clerics so this is a really nice guide to see put together mate, the two types of Cleric you've put together feel really quite different and I like the distinction rather than the more 'standard' approach of making a Cleric just absolutely badass at everything :) Also the Blunt Weapon restriction is great to see again because honestly it just makes sense.

    You know...what might be interesting (and I pitch this just as a question) but what do you think about the idea of people building off of what you've created here and turning these into...not quite a new style of content, but something with your Guides as the base and then people coming up with ideas that could build upon what you've created. I mean, I really hope that people create builds based off of these Guides at some point (because they're really awesome), so what I'm suggesting is a tad different. But let's say I had an idea for a third type of Cleric that differs from the Battle Cleric and Heliomancer... We'll call it The Luminious (mediocre name but works for now) for now. It's a Cleric Archetype that fully devotes itself to purging Undead and those that summon them, essentially throwing out a lot of the support spells and focusing almost fully on Sun and Fire Spells. Would you be opposed to me (or anyone else) writing that guide and sort of...growing out form this original guide?

    Hope that made sense, took a break from writing for a bit and that usually sends me off in all different directions :P But yeah, just a thought and if your opposed it's no issue or anything, just thought your concept here is really quite something and thought it'd be nice to have a chat about it :D 

     

    Either way, really awesome Guide and I can't wait to see more of them.

    Clerics ARE the real MVPs, so true! Thanks for the kind words and input my man. I really spent a lot of time weighing different Cleric options but I ultimately found that beyond the distinctions made with the Battle Cleric and Heliomancer, there was too much overlap. (DnD has a plethora but they weren't that unique IMO which can make them too superfluous, at least for the purpose of a character creation template). I love chatting classes so I'd be down to explore any topics haha. As for people taking inspiration and coming up with their own stuff I was kind of hoping people would have that reaction so I wouldn't begrudge anyone coming up with their own ideas or build interpretations. Kind of like homebrews based on Dnd classes.

    As for the class you mention though, that really fits the Heliomancer to a tee - a lot of support spells with a sole focus on sun magic to burn/brand undead. I even considered a Heliomancy spell pack to add a boon to sun magic. The main difference between Clerics - within the confines of Skyrim - is basically sun magic or turn undead, frontlines or support. Certainly there's wiggle room but these always seem to be the main distinctions, just based on the limitations of the class. That's why I landed on these two polar sub-classes. Any third option I researched or came up with was just an amalgation of these two. (maybe one day I'll share my rough draft and what didn't make the cut).

    I probably spend the most time on the sub-classes because I'm going for a balance between exclusive in that theyre not too much the same (in spells, tactics and roleplay), yet inclusive in their ability for each sub-class to allow for diverse interpretations (Exorcist Heliomancer or Support Heliomancer, etc.). I actually think the Luminous would be a great build using the Heliomancer spell pack (and I LOVE clerics of light so props for the idea!). I just personally wouldn't add it as a sub-class for my creation guide because the approach is the same, save for perhaps backstory or character motivation which I leave to the player. I think it falls within the template honestly. Curious to hear more of your ideas though and I'd be the first to check out whatever you come up with. Love to dig into the philosophy of character classes :)

     

     

     

    To everyone who is following me on this journey: I've pretty much narrowed down my very next Class Guide to three that I'm considering. More to come! :)

     

     

  • Member
    November 6, 2018

    What happens if the Cleric worships an evil-aligned diety like, for example, Mehrunes Dagon or Molag Bal? Unlike a Paladin, whose oaths aren't necessarily aligned with a god (though often are), a Cleric's devotion is almost always based on religion. Would there be a difference in skills for an evil-aligned Cleric, or maybe a Cleric whose god is a trickster like Sheogorath?

    ...Actually I would quite like to see how a Cleric of Sheogorath would operate. That sounds a bit awesome. Probably a lot of Illusion spells.

    What if a Cleric's god would frown upon the practice of capturing souls as power sources? Wouldn't most good-aligned Clerics tend to avoid enchantment, or at least leave relegate the Cleric to white souls?

    I feel like there are a lot of unanswered questions here. 

  • November 7, 2018

    I really look forward to seeing more, I love what you are doing.

  • November 7, 2018

     

     

    As for people taking inspiration and coming up with their own stuff I was kind of hoping people would have that reaction so I wouldn't begrudge anyone coming up with their own ideas or build interpretations. Kind of like homebrews based on Dnd classes.

    That's super nice to hear :) I hope people do come up with a few ideas at least, I know I've got a couple thoughts both for specific builds and maybe sub-classes. 

    As for the class you mention though, that really fits the Heliomancer to a tee - a lot of support spells with a sole focus on sun magic to burn/brand undead. I even considered a Heliomancy spell pack to add a boon to sun magic. The main difference between Clerics - within the confines of Skyrim - is basically sun magic or turn undead, frontlines or support. Certainly there's wiggle room but these always seem to be the main distinctions, just based on the limitations of the class. That's why I landed on these two polar sub-classes. Any third option I researched or came up with was just an amalgation of these two. (maybe one day I'll share my rough draft and what didn't make the cut).

    I probably spend the most time on the sub-classes because I'm going for a balance between exclusive in that theyre not too much the same (in spells, tactics and roleplay), yet inclusive in their ability for each sub-class to allow for diverse interpretations (Exorcist Heliomancer or Support Heliomancer, etc.). I actually think the Luminous would be a great build using the Heliomancer spell pack (and I LOVE clerics of light so props for the idea!). I just personally wouldn't add it as a sub-class for my creation guide because the approach is the same, save for perhaps backstory or character motivation which I leave to the player. I think it falls within the template honestly. Curious to hear more of your ideas though and I'd be the first to check out whatever you come up with. Love to dig into the philosophy of character classes :)

    Yeah the idea was more of a quick thing to show where I was coming from (logically) rather than a serious attempt at creating a Sub Class of any real description. It's definitely a little too much in the middle (I would say it's not quite as close to a Heliomancer, and I might throw up a Mock Build at some point that should showcase a few differences) of the two sub-classes you've written about, with elements from both.

    But yeah, I think the point of a Class should be to provide distinction and a unique flair while still remaining true to the core concepts of the build, without being too similar. I remember, Baldur's Gate 2's Sub-Classes (while hit and miss) were probably the best examples of how to make them work succesfully that I've seen. I mean the Clerics were boring as all shit (a few unique spells and an alingmnet restriction) but the Ranger, Paladin or Warrior Sub-Classes could all be drastically different from each other (Kensai for instance). There were some flaws there, but for me the key to anything was that they gave you restrictions. A great example is a Mage...I'm bored by Pure Mages that use all core stats to the maximum and have to juggle dozens of spells to work effectively, so I tend to focus on a single spell and then branch out from there. You know, Fury for Illusion as the core concept, which generally works quite well with Flames and so on and so forth. 

    I suppose that starts getting into the philosiphy of building a tad too much (which is a topic that I could speak about for years...wait I have :P) but it's a similar approach. For me I just like having that combination of unique flavour and core concepts working well off each other.

  • November 8, 2018

    Mercurias said:

    What happens if the Cleric worships an evil-aligned diety like, for example, Mehrunes Dagon or Molag Bal? Unlike a Paladin, whose oaths aren't necessarily aligned with a god (though often are), a Cleric's devotion is almost always based on religion. Would there be a difference in skills for an evil-aligned Cleric, or maybe a Cleric whose god is a trickster like Sheogorath?

    ...Actually I would quite like to see how a Cleric of Sheogorath would operate. That sounds a bit awesome. Probably a lot of Illusion spells.

    What if a Cleric's god would frown upon the practice of capturing souls as power sources? Wouldn't most good-aligned Clerics tend to avoid enchantment, or at least leave relegate the Cleric to white souls?

    I feel like there are a lot of unanswered questions here. 

    You are right: Clerics can follows evil deities. Any deities really, as long as it is a god and not something cosmic or mystical beyond that because then we are entering the territory of them being a Warlock. Quite different.

    As for what spells they use, my understanding of the class and the research I have done reveals them all to use healing magick. Clerics, even dark ones, will possess these abilities. Ordinator allows for healing spells to be used offensively - I would suggest you do that if you wish to play a dark cleric. You make an argument for other forms of magick if you're following a trickster god, for example. I considered that but ultimately I think that's up to the player's interpretation. If it fits the lore, then I would consider that within the context of this guide. There's thousands of possible Clerics and unique ways to play. Remember that even an evil aligned cleric will not see themselves as "evil". These are people who are ordained to a righteous deity (so they believe). Deities should be viewed from a distance. All clerics believes they are "right", in some way or another.

    As for the soul trapping, I agree that within the confines of Skyrim and the limitations around enchanting, it does seem like capturing souls is NOT "good" or holy... on its face. Surely there are many ways to roleplay around this. One way could be that capturing soul energy simply is good. (See how I did that lol) Capturing evil souls and empowering holy souls cleanses the evil that inhabited them. It frees them of evil forces. That's just one example. Get creative. I will concede that Skyrim's mechanics really do limit one's ability to play a Cleric effectively without some kind of contradictions, that is unless you're not above getting creative with your playthrough.

    I encourage you to consult your deity for guidance in all situations, cleric :) Only then will you get your answer.

  • November 8, 2018

    Mook said:

    I really look forward to seeing more, I love what you are doing.

     

    Thanks Mook! 

     

    Just added my Necromancer class guide.