the 12 Days of Cleric-mas

Welcome to the 12 Days of Cleric-mas!

What’s Cleric-mas?

A completely made-up holiday reference I’m using as an excuse to post new ideas and mechanics for clerics in the 13th Age role-playing game.

Seems unnecessarily elaborate

Probably, and even a little silly. But I had ideas for 12 posts about clerics, and it’s the holiday season, so the idea stuck.

What are the 12 days?

I’m glad you asked. Each time I post in the next few weeks, I’ll update this list with the new link. It’s like an Advent calendar, except the posts won’t necessarily be on consecutive days and its after Christmas. And you’ll get words instead of chocolate. And we’re dealing with fictional religions instead of real-world ones. Otherwise, just like an Advent calendar.

Day 1 — Domain: Beer OR Sacred Waters (+ 1st level spell, Anoint)
Day 2 — Domain: Clockwork OR Artifice (+ two spells, Summon Clockwork Archon and Summon Saint of Rava)
Day 3 — Domain: Hunger OR Survival
Day 4 — ???
Day 5 — ???
Day 6 — ???
Day 7 — ???
Day 8 — ???
Day 9 — ???
Day 10 — ???
Day 11 — ???
Day 12 — ???
Bonus Day — ???

Um, that’s 13 days.

It is… from a certain point of view. It’s a list of 13 things, keeping with the numerology of 13th Age. But I’m showcasing 10 new domains/spells and 2 new class features, so that 13th day really is more of a coda. It’ll be 12 primary posts, hence the ability to adapt the “12 days of Xmas” reference for the conceit.

In other words, it’s me straddling the keep/eat dichotomy of my cake. Except the cake is a prime number yet not a prime number.

Okay, but why clerics?

The short answer is because of the Midgard campaign setting.

Oh, so this is for Midgard?

Sure! But it’s not just for that setting. The inspiration and timbre came from Midgard, but my goal was to create domains, spells, and magic item rules usable in any 13th Age game. Whether you’re playing in the Dragon Empire, in primeval Thule, Midgard or Karthun, or a homebrew, these domains and spells can work for any setting that seems appropriate.

What was the long answer?

I’ve had the Midgard Bestiary for 13th Age as long as I’ve had the core 13th Age book (they were bundled together in a silent auction I won). Even when I wasn’t using the setting, I used a lot of the Midgard/13th Age material from Kobold Press for ideas in my own games. I really like what they’ve put out for the system.

This autumn, I was looking for single-session games to run at ValorCon here in Chicago. As a one-shot set in Midgard using the 13th Age system, “The Wreck of Volund’s Glory” was a perfect choice. It’s a highly flexible scenario that is perfect as an introductory or con game, whether you’re looking at a 2- or 4-hour block. (It’s also written by Wade Rockett, the man behind the new 13th Age GM screen and resource book.)

When I create pre-gens for one-shots, my goal is to make each as interesting as possible, even though it’s only a template that players expand upon as the session progresses. With the Midgard setting, I really wanted a cleric who showcased a Midgard-specific domain. Since my other hobby is libations, I went with “Domain: Beer.”

One problem — there were no 13th Age mechanics for Midgard domains. I mocked up some mechanics for the Beer domain, ran them past a couple players, and printed them up for ValorCon. It was a huge hit, both in terms of in-combat usage and inspiring dynamic narrative choices.

Meanwhile, I thought it prudent to hack the other Midgard domains for 13th Age to create a cohesive design aesthetic. As those rounded into shape, I started jotting down ideas for other third-party cleric domains used in the Midgard setting. It snowballed from there to here.

Have these been playtested?

A few have seen light playtesting, but as someone who pays the rent through a dayjob and writes on the side, most of this content will be untested. But feel free to test them, and let me know your thoughts!

This will be 12 straight days of posts?

Hopefully? I’ve been designing and tweaking the mechanics for a few months now, but I’m also very cognizant of how much time and energy my dayjob will require in the immediate future. I’m aiming for 12 posts in 12-ish days, because I also have a lot of other design and campaign ideas I’d like to put on here.

Cool. When does it start?

Now! I’m posting this moments before day one — the domain of beer!

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