Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Cleric of Xihuitl

A paladin left the party and deprived them of healing. My players asked for healing. So Galen, the NPC caravan leader, stepped up to the plate. After discovering a holy symbol of Xihuitl, he spent a day or so deciding whether or not he wanted the responsibility. My players were very understanding, and gave him the time and space he needed to make his choice.

The dawn after unearthing a turquoise mask, he donned it, and accepted the responsibilities of becoming a cleric.

Of unknown Mesoamerican origin.
Oh, holy symbols - masks - of Xihuitl are made from the front top skull of a former priest after they die. A pecked cross inlaid with greenstone adorns the forehead. 

Below is my first tentative draft. 

Xihuitl, in my campaign, is the main god of the underworld and agriculture. 

Xihuitl Domain Spells:
1st level: animal friendship, inflict wounds
3rd level: pass without trace, geyser*
5th level: life transference**, wall of water
7th: control water, dominate beast
9th: revivify (raise dead), danse macabre**

Circle of Mortality:
At 1st level, you gain the ability to manipulate the line between life and death. When you would normally roll one or more dice to restore hit points with a spell to a creature at 0 hit points, you instead use the highest number possible for each die.
In addition, you learn the spare the dying cantrip, which doesn’t count against the number of cleric cantrips you know. For you, it has a range of 30 feet, and you can cast it as a bonus action.

Channel Divinity: Stand with the Ancestral Dead
Starting at 2nd level, you can use your Channel Divinity to heal undead.
As an action, choose one undead you can see within 30 feet. The next time that undead takes necrotic damage, it instead regains the damage dealt as hit points.

Comfort in Death
Beginning at 6th level, you can walk among undead. As an action, you may make a Persuasion check against any number of undead you can see. On a success, they become at least neutral to your presence and your companions presence, if you have any companions. You make this check with advantage if the undead are allied with Xihuitl or raised by worshippers of Xihuitl.

Divine Strike
Starting at 8th level, you gain the ability to channel death through your weapon strikes. Once on each of your turns, when you hit a creature with a weapon attack, you can cause the attack to deal an extra 1d8 necrotic damage to the target. When you reach 14th level, this extra damage increases to 2d8.

Channel to the Underworld
Starting at 17th level, you can convey creatures to a watery grave. As an action, target a creature within 60 feet touching a body of water. That creature must make a Constitution saving throw or be dragged underneath the water and take 2d8 necrotic damage on a failure, and half damage on a success. Every time the creature fails its Con save, it loses a minute of air. The creature may repeat the Con save at the beginning of its turns, exiting the water to the closest body of land on a success.

*Spells from Walrock Homebrew's excellent Codex of Waves.

**Spells from Xanathar's Guide to Everything

So, at first glance this feels like a hardcore necromancy cleric. It....isn't intended to be, but there're some ancestral undead I want to bring into play later. The main features are centered around supporting undead with some limited mob control via geyser, wall of water, and control water

One weird thing about the spell list is that revivify is listed as a 5th level spell. This is intentional - coming back from the dead is much harder in my world. Raise dead is a 7th level spell. The other thing I'd like to note is that any clerics taking this domain should scoop up raise undead when they hit 5th level. What's the utility of raise undead compared to danse macabre? Well, duration, but there's a magic item that's supposed to sync with raise undead

The 1st level feature is explicitly ripped off from the Grave Domain cleric and is pretty damn powerful. Life Domain wishes it was this good.  

The 6th level feature is not concrete in its wording because there should be leeway for roleplay and multiple results. I considered making it a "charm undead" feature but then dismissed that idea. This cleric isn't supposed to dominate the dead, it's supposed to cooperate with them. 

In keeping with the standard practice of either boosting cantrip damage or boosting melee damage at 8th level, I've opted for the latter. This cleric isn't a real tanky cleric but should have some combat prowness. When I rewrite this in the future, I think I'll add an 8th level feature that gives this subclass more flavor. +damage is stifling. 

The capstone, I hope, is on the low side of the balance scale for now. Drowning and the like with no concentration is good, even if there's a lot of Con saves allowed before the drowning begins. 

Magic Item: Death Mask (rare)

This basalt mask inlaid with turquoise depicts a serene, resting, androgynous face with its eyes and mouth closed. 
If placed on the face of a corpse that has been consecrated to Xihuitl, it can be used as the material component for raise undead or danse macabre. Regardless of the type of undead that would normally be created, a ghoul is created instead. This ghoul retains most memories of its past life, is free willed, and does not expire after the duration of the spell used to raise it lapses. 
If used by a cleric of Xihuitl as a holy symbol, the cleric's save DC increases by 1.

So this plays right into the hands of create undead and danse macabre. Masked ghouls and ancestor ghouls can often be found guarding a temple, running a temple, or waiting until needed. 

One of my players wants to make a "totally Jesus loving Mormon as hell cleric in the middle of the jungle". Well, I guess that means Mormon Jesus in Mesoamerica: the subclass is a-coming. 

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