Early Hint of V5 Cleric

Because #DelvingDeeperReliquary will be the first time I’ll need to ask “real” money for #DelvingDeeper (true, the Lulu softcover was a “real” $4.95, at/just below cost price), I want it to genuinely be a step up from where DD is at today. There are dozens of retro-clones out there, so why would anyone bother themselves with another revision of Delving Deeper?

Sure, there will be beautiful illustrations. Sure, there will be a beautiful hardcover edition. But what about the content ?

I’m not ready to let the genie completely out of the bottle just yet, but I can say the content will be beautiful too. I’m eager to share the joy of what’s shaping up so, without giving too much away, perhaps a little preview is in order so you can get an impresion of the obsessive detail that’s going into Reliquary?

Here’s the annotated first half of the cleric entry for your reading pleasure (Reliquary itself will not include annotations in its main text):

Clerics must only be Men [1] of law or chaos [2]; they cannot remain neutral [3] in the eternal struggle [4].

Clerics are fanatically religious [5] missionaries [6] or templars, hospitallers [7], or other brothers [8] of a monastery or Order [9] guided by the Powers “above” [10]. They desire to establish temples [11] and to tithe money and jewels for their Order [12]. In performing their duty clerics have some of the advantages of both fighters and magic-users [13]; they are allowed shields and armor and non-edged weapons (excluding arrows) [14] and need never check morale [15]. Moreover, a lawful cleric can turn the undead [16] and has a repertoire of clerical spells [17].

(And of course it continues on in this fashion…)



[1] M&M p6: “Clerics are limited to men only.”

[2] M&M p7: “Clerics are either Law or Chaos” (1st-4th prints). From December 1975 (5th+ prints) this restriction was delayed to the 7th level.

[3] M&M p9: Patriarchs and Evil High Priests are listed under law and chaos, respectively. No cleric is list under neutrality. Note especially that a cleric cannot remain neutral.

[4] CM p28: The “epic struggles” of fantasy literature are cited.

[5] CM p19-20 describes “Religious Orders of Knighthood” which appear to be represented as Dervishes in D&D, who “will always be led by an 8th-10th level cleric”. M&T p6: “Dervishes are fanatically religious nomads” and (of nomads): “These raiders…” so dervishes are effectively “fanatically religious raiders” whose leader-types are always clerics. I.e., those clerics associated with dervishes are themselves among the “fanatically religious”. Since all DD-clerics will ultimately attract (and be leader-types of) dervishes, it seems reasonable to apply their fanaticism to the clerical class.

[6] The word “missionaries” is an introduction, surmising the 1973 draft Vol2 p3 which has (of Clerics): “The object of a Cleric’s life is to be accepted in and work through a monestary or an Order” and: “Their adventures are more on the order of quests”. Moreover, U&WA p15 also has: “the Cleric will send the adventurers on some form of Lawful or Chaotic task, under Quest”. DD characterises these quests as religious missions.

[7] CM p20 (Saracens): “They will take no prisoners from religious orders of knighthood (Templars and Hospitallers)”.

[8] The word “brother” is an introduction. “Knight” would better reflect CM’s “Religious Orders of Knighthood” (cf note [5]), however “knight” also carries broader secular implications. Arneson described the “Brothers of the Swamp” (BM p28-) as a “religious order” (albeit, an evil one) and has a cleric “Brother Richard, the Flying Monk” in his Adventures in Blackmoor. Moreover, “brother” is a term easily associated with monasteries and orders (cf note [9]), and which features in DD’s clerical level titles (cf the Brother, Brother Sergeant, and the Brother Knight).

[9] CM p19-20 discusses “Religious Orders of Knighthood”. Also, 1973 draft Vol2 p3 has the term “Monastery or Order” four times in the one paragraph defining clerics.

[10] M&M p7 “Clerics … receive help from ‘above'” and M&M p33 (Communue): “A spell which puts the Cleric in touch with the powers ‘above'” and also (not seminal to DD, but FWIW) GH p8 “All cleric spells are considered as ‘divinely’ given”.

[11] M&M p12 (re NPCs): “Clerics want some assurance of having a place of worship in which to house themselves.”

[12] U&WA p15 (castles): “Clerics will require passersby to give a tithe (10%) of all their money and jewels” and 1973 draft, Vol2 p3 (Clerics): “The object of a Cleric’s life is to be accepted in and work through a monestary or an Order, and therefore gold pieces are only as important as a tribute or tithe.”

[13] M&M p7: “Clerics gain some of the advantages from both of the other two classes (Fighting-Men and Magic-Users)”

[14] 1973 draft, Vol2 p3 (Clerics): “They may not use edged weapons.” and M&M p7: “they have the use of magic armor and all non-edged magic weapons (no arrows!)”.

[15] Clerics can occur as players or non-players, and as normal or heroic types. DD presumes clerics have the same fanaticism ascribed to dervishes (cf note [5]) who “fight… never checking morale” M&T p6.

[16] M&M p22: “Clerics versus Undead Monsters”.

[17] M&M p7: “they have numbers of their own spells”.


Well folks, that’s where this boat is headed. There’ll be hardly an idle phrase or casual word to be found. Long live OD&D!

Thanks especially to +Daniel Boggs for his keen-eyed review, and who remarked to me “by far the best, most accurate rendering of the 3lbb + CHAINMAIL Cleric class”.  I’ll admit that made me feel a wee bit proud of what’s coming.