[Holmes] Clerical "Book of Spells"

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[Holmes] Clerical "Book of Spells"

Post by Vile » Sun Mar 20, 2016 9:02 am

One of the things I have been mulling over recently is clerical spell casting in Holmes D&D. Now, the only reference to clerics actually using spell books is in the lists which are headed Book of First Level Spells and Book of Second Level Spells. That may or may not be a typo, but I run with it. I think of them as a type of holy text, only available to senior members within the church hierarchy. I also like to keep them huge and untransportable, both because it seems in line with their magic-users' counterparts, and it feels appropriate to have such ostentatious and valuable items as part of a cleric's paraphernalia.

However, unlike magic-users, clerics don't need to study their books in order to memorise their spells. There is not even anything to say they must pray or meditate for a certain amount of time to choose their "spells for the adventure". Of course, there is also nothing to say that they have any way of regaining spells cast until they return home.

How do you run your Holmes clerics? Do they have books? Can they write scrolls? Is there any way for them to re-charge their spells during the course of an adventure?

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Re: [Holmes] Clerical "Book of Spells"

Post by Dread Delgath » Mon Jun 19, 2017 5:04 pm

First off, let me apologize for resurrecting an old thread, but, since this is the first time in a long time I've been able to peruse some of the back catacombs of the Piazza, I'll probably be raising a lot of these old corpses. ;)

I've always* thought that the "Book of ____ Level Spells" for M-U's and Clerics was simply a list, not an actual "book" that the characters could interact with.

(*When I finally understood the rules in Holmes, my introduction to D&D), clerics could cast any spell from the list of the levels they were allowed to cast from, and in Holmes, as in future BX & BECMI, had to be 2nd level before able to cast a 1st level spell. I don't have my books with me, so if memory serves, even a 3rd level cleric could only cast two 1st level clerical spells per day.

Unlike M-U's, clerics could cast any spell they needed to. They did not have to memorize the spell, so I had always assumed that their deity allowed them to instantly cast the spell listed in that level's "book".

It was one of the only ways to give the cleric a bit of equalization to the MU, as their spells could do a lot more damage, and had more offensive capabilities in general. Clerics were, as always, relegated to saving their castings for healing spells, or neutralizing poisons or whatever.

As to whatever texts that clerical spells were actually written down in, we never had that level of detail with clerics in my early days* of D&D (*1980-1985) because getting a player to play a cleric was more difficult than herding cats by pushing a rope mandated by an act of congress. My first players (with Holmes, then BX, and eventually AD&D) tended to play fighters, thieves, and rangers. If the party needed* to have a MU or cleric in the party, it was necessary to hire NPCs or the players were allowed to play 2-3 characters to fill those roles.

(*Our group in central Nebraskan Sandhills cow-town of less than 200 pop consisted of 2 players and a DM; and the TPK rates were high too; we never pulled punches because we were cruel and crude and 13-14 years old; when a redeux was wanted because of we really wanted to finish a particular dungeon, we'd roll up new PCs and either hire MU and cleric NPCs, or run 2-3 characters to necessitate a full party with a wide array of races & classes.)
A big THANKS! to Giant Space Hamster & Chimpman for the cookies! (Dark Side be damned!) :D

My D&D 5th edition Dakan Mar Campaign setting Conspectus and Campaign Rules here at The Piazza Forums, a Fool's Errand WIP.

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