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Dragon Can’t Get Enough Of Me

posted Wednesday, February 14th 2007 by Jonathan Drain
None of the Above

It always struck me as odd that every cleric in third edition had the ability to turn or rebuke undead. It makes sense for the priests of Pelor, but would the servants of Moradin or Obad-Hai necessarily be trained in this ability? Perhaps the mystics of Wee Jas or the sages of Boccob learn to channel divine energy in different ways in order to better serve their respective deities.

I’m pleased to discover that Issue #353 of Dragon magazine features my article which does just that, No Turning. It’s a list of variant cleric abilities that you can choose by trading in your Turn Undead, typically granting a bonus to a relevant skill, a special ability and a cool title like ‘Cultist’, ‘Justicar’ or ‘Warrior Priest’ (because, lets face it, ‘cleric’ is a little generic). A few didn’t make it for space reasons – I don’t have the original article to hand, but the interesting Martyr and Heretic variants were cut from the article. I’ll post them here later on.

I’d be quite interested to see if anyone uses these variants in their own character, or better yet, an official published adventure.


  1. tezrak

    February 14th, 2007

    While I don’t mind alternate class features, I’d much rather see customization on the feat level and/or the PrC level rather than in the base class level. I don’t see that much of an issue in the average cleric being able to channel positive or negative energy–perhaps “turn/rebuke undead” should have its name changed to “channel positive/negative energy”; I agree that not all clerics should be adept at repelling and/or commanding undead. There are plenty of feats, however, as well as PrC class features that are fueled by turn attempts. Look at Complete Warrior and its divine feats: divine vigor, divine shield, etc. “Expend a turn attempt to do X”. I’ve never really played much of an anti-undead cleric myself, so I usually rely on those turn attempts to do other things; I’d just rather not monkey around with such things at the base class level.

  2. Zaratustra

    February 22nd, 2007

    If you meddle in the base classes the system might fall apart and become a pile of magic-card-like abilities that vaguely interact with each other… oh wait.

  3. Dragon_Child

    February 23rd, 2007

    The article was excellent. Ignore the trolls – it’s not like they have any valid input, and it’s clear that Zaratustra has never even looked at the article, let alone actually put effort into thinking up a valid opinion.

    Personally, I thought the article was great – all clerics having turn undead, to me, makes no sense at all, and they shouldn’t have to give up a DEFININING CHARACTER OPTION THAT THEY GET VERY FEW OF (a feat) just to have a thematically fitting class feature.

  4. John

    February 21st, 2009

    WHat were the varaints to turning undead given through the ‘Cultist’, ‘Justicar’ or ‘Warrior Priest’? I am looking for more options.

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