The priest is a divine caster that focuses on knowledge rather than martial combat ability. Unlike the cleric, the priest is usually not found on the front lines, preferring to advise from a distance while healing wounds and asking for divine assistance. In civilized lands, priests are often found in the upper echelons of religious orders, running monasteries and temples while their cleric brethren protect them from harm.
Adventures: Priests are often quest-driven, traveling into dangerous territories on a mission for their gods. Priests have a thirst for knowledge, especially within their own pantheons and will often seek out ancient ruins to secure powerful artifacts, preserve a sacred temple, or banish evil from the world.
Characteristics: Priests are spiritual advisors and knowledge experts. Much of their authority comes from divine guidance, as many priests choose the knowledge domain. That said priests come in all stripes and they tend to have similar characteristics to those of their deity or philosophy, albeit a bit less martial.
Alignment: A priest’s choice of alignment largely depends on the deity she serves. Alignment is important as it determines the type of energy that a priest channels. Alignment is also a general indicator of the order in which the priest belongs. Lawful priesthoods tend to have strict hierarchies and rules, as well as tenets for paladins to pledge to. Chaotic priesthoods tend to be decentralized, with each priest free to create her own rules and rituals. Neutral priesthoods tend to fall somewhere in between, allowing for some structure yet also granting their individual priests a few freedoms.
Background: Priests come from all walks of life. Many are monastic or temple priests, rarely leaving their abodes to venture into the wide world. Some were orphans raised in a monastery, others were sent there because they would not inherit the family fortune or their family could not afford to feed them. Some were simply seekers of knowledge.
Role: The priest has a support role within a typical adventuring party. Like the sorcerer or wizard, the priest usually stays in the back, supporting the front line with his spells. The priest is also useful when knowledge must be brought to bear to solve ancient puzzles or read forgotten texts.
Hit Die: d6.
The priest’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Appraise (Int), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Heal (Wis), Knowledge (all) (Int), Linguistics (Int), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis) and Spellcraft (Int).
Skill Points per Level: 6 + Int modifier.
All of the following are class features of the priest.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Priests are proficient with all simple weapons and light armor. A priest who chooses the War domain receives the Weapon Focus feat related to his deity’s weapon as a bonus feat. He also receives the appropriate Martial Weapon Proficiency feat as a bonus feat, if the weapon falls into that category.
A priest casts divine spells, which are drawn from the cleric spell list. However, his alignment may restrict him from casting certain spells opposed to his moral or ethical beliefs (see Chaotic, Evil, Good, and Lawful Spells, below.) A priest must choose and prepare his spells in advance (see below).
To prepare or cast a spell, a priest must have a Wisdom score equal to at least 10 + the spell level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a priest’s spell is 10 + the spell level + the priest’s Wisdom modifier.
Like other spellcasters, a priest can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. His base daily spell allotment is given on Table: Priest. In addition, he receives bonus spells per day if he has a high Wisdom score. A priest also gets two domain spells of each spell level he can cast, starting at 1st level. When a priest prepares a spell in a domain spell slot, it must come from one of his three domains (see Deities, Domains, and Domain Spells, below).
Priests meditate or pray for their spells. Each priest must choose a time at which he must spend 1 hour each day in quiet contemplation or supplication to regain his daily allotment of spells. Time spent resting has no effect on whether a priest can prepare spells. A priest may prepare and cast any spell on the priest spell list, provided that he can cast spells of that level, but he must choose which spells to prepare during his daily meditation.
A priest of a chaotic, evil, good, or lawful deity has a particularly powerful aura corresponding to the deity’s alignment (see the detect evil spell for details). Priests that don’t worship a specific deity but choose the Chaotic, Evil, Good, or Lawful domain have a similarly powerful aura of the corresponding alignment.
Regardless of alignment, any priest can release a wave of energy by channeling the power of his faith through his holy (or unholy) symbol. This energy can be used to cause or heal damage, depending on the type of energy channeled and the creatures targeted.
A good priest (or one that worships a good deity) channels positive energy and can choose to deal damage to undead creatures or to heal living creatures. An evil priest (or one that worships an evil deity) channels negative energy and can choose to deal damage to living creatures or heal undead creatures. A neutral priest that worships a neutral deity (or one that is not devoted to a particular deity) must choose whether he channels positive or negative energy. Once this choice is made, it cannot be reversed. Channeling energy causes a burst that affects all creatures of one type (either undead or living) in a 30-foot radius centered on the priest. The amount of damage dealt or healed is equal to 1d8 points of damage plus 1d8 points of damage for every two priest levels beyond first. Creatures that take damage from channeled energy receive a Will save to halve the damage. The DC of this save is equal to 10 + ½ the priest’s level + the priest’s Charisma modifier. Creatures healed by channeled energy cannot exceed their maximum hit point total – all excess healing is lost. A priest may Channel energy a number of times per day equal to 3 + his charisma modifier. This is a standard action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity. A priest can choose whether or not to include himself in this effect. A priest must be able to present his holy symbol to use this ability.
Most priests worship deities associated with knowledge and learning. A priest’s deity influences his alignment, what magic he can perform, his values, and how others see him. A priest chooses two domains from among those belonging to his deity. A priest can select an alignment domain (Chaos, Evil, Good, or Law) only if his alignment matches that domain. In addition to any domains selected from his deity’s list, a priest automatically gains the Knowledge domain as a bonus domain (even if the Knowledge domain is not normally available to clerics of that deity). He gains the Knowledge domain granted power and may select his bonus domain spells from the Knowledge domain or from one of his two regular domains.
If a priest is not devoted to a particular deity, he still gains the Knowledge domain and selects two domains to represent his spiritual inclinations and abilities. The restriction on alignment domains still applies. Each domain gives the priest access to a domain spell at each spell level he can cast, from 1st on up, as well as a granted power. The priest gets the granted powers of both the domains selected as well as the Knowledge domain.
With access to three domain spells at a given spell level, a priest prepares two of the three each day in his domain spell slots for each spell level that he can access. If a domain spell is not on the priest spell list, a priest can prepare it only in his domain spell slot.
Priests can prepare a number of orisons, or 0-level spells, each day. These spells are cast like any other spell, but they are not expended when cast and may be used again.
A priest can channel stored spell energy into domain spells that the priest did not prepare ahead of time. The priest can “lose” any prepared spell that is not a domain spell in order to cast any domain spell of the same spell level or lower. The priest may only choose one of his domains for this purpose. The domain is chosen when the first priest level is taken and cannot be changed later.
If cure or inflict spells are not part of the priest’s domain, he may choose to spontaneously cast cure or inflict spells instead of domain spells (as if he were a cleric). A priest that channels positive energy may spontaneously cast cure spells, while a priest that channels negative energy may spontaneously cast inflict spells.
A priest can’t cast spells of an alignment opposed to his own or his deity’s (if he has one). Spells associated with particular alignments are indicated by the chaos, evil, good, and law descriptors in their spell descriptions.
A priest’s bonus language options include Celestial, Abyssal, and Infernal (the languages of good, chaotic evil, and lawful evil outsiders, respectively). These choices are in addition to the bonus languages available to the character because of his race.
A priest who grossly violates the code of conduct required by his god loses all spells and class features, except for proficiency with light armor and simple weapons. He cannot thereafter gain levels as a priest of that god until he atones (see the atonement spell description).
When a character selects a class, he must choose to use the standard class features found or those listed in one of the archetypes presented here. Each alternate class feature replaces a specific class feature from its parent class. For example, the elemental fist class feature of the monk of the four winds replaces the stunning fist class feature of the monk. When an archetype includes multiple class features, a character must take all of them—often blocking the character from ever gaining certain familiar class features, but replacing them with equally powerful options. All of the other class features found in the core class and not mentioned among the alternate class features remain unchanged and are acquired normally when the character reaches the appropriate level (unless noted otherwise). A character who takes an alternate class feature does not count as having the class feature that was replaced when meeting any requirements or prerequisites.
A character can take more than one archetype and garner additional alternate class features, but none of the alternate class features can replace or alter the same class feature from the core class as another alternate class feature. For example, a paladin could not be both a hospitaler and an undead scourge since they both modify the smite evil class feature and both replace the aura of justice class feature. A paladin could, however, be both an undead scourge and a warrior of the holy light, since none of their new class features replace the same core class feature.
Archetypes are a quick and easy way to specialize characters of a given class, adding fun and flavorful new abilities to already established adventurers. Characters may take more than one archetype if they meet the requirements.