Klerikos, clericus, clerk, clergy, cleric… it’s one of the most storied words in the Romance languages, and one of the most versatile classes in AD&D. We examine clerics, from their roles in an adventuring party to the rationale (or irrationality, depending on your viewpoint) of prohibitions on edged weapons.
Also this week, a classic Monster Manual baddie – the Anhkheg.
Show notes – be sure and hunt down issue #85 of Dragon Magazine (May 1984) for a massive special section entitled “The Cleric Collection.”
Also of note is “The Cloistered Cleric” by Len Lakofka in Dragon #68 (December 1982) and “Clerics live by other rules” by Gary Gygax, Dragon #92 (December 1984).
Finally, you might want to review the debate over clerics and edged weapons in Dragon #66, and this letter which appeared in response two issues later. Written by one of the authores in #66, John T. Sapienza, Jr., and printed in “Out on a Limb,” I felt it was an excellent defense of DM Nick’s argument. (He’s still wrong, of course. -Jayson) I will reproduce the relevant excerpts here:
I enjoyed seeing my article on the use of weapons of choice in DRAGON #66 printed with a rebutting article by Bruce Humphrey, defending the rules limiting certain character classes to specific weapons…
…I strongly disagree with Bruce concerning clerics, however. Here we part company on the very nature of religious faith. It seems to me that Bruce insists on transferring the Christian aversion to the shedding of blood to the priests of all pagan deities. He argues that even less-than-good deities would limit their clerics from spilling blood in other than ritual grounds and temples. The problem with this is that it ignores the gods of war. Granted that most religions that required blood sacrifice, including human sacrifice, did so for the most part at the altar or sacred grove in ritual conditions. But the logical place for a sacrifice to a god of war is on the battlefield, and a study of history yields a number of instances in which societies were formed around this concept…
…If a god uses weapons at all, and at least half of the gods are so described, then it logically follows that the worshipers of that god will use the same weapons for the same purpose their patron deity does, in furtherance of his commands. If a cleric is a follower of a war god, he is going to regard spilling blood as an inherent part of his duties – and a mere incident to the main activity, which is killing enemies.”