Towards the beginning of the month I got a request on Twitter to make a cleric. Along with the fighter, the thief, and the wizard (and perhaps the bard), the cleric is a classic Dungeons & Dragons fantasy archetype. But I was somewhat hesitant to make one. Part of that reluctance was because I’d already made a Dwarven runepriest, which I rather envision being like a cleric. I also have a Tiefling crusader that will be posted in the coming weeks. But a bigger part of my reluctance was due to how Fate handles damage and injury.
In Fate, damage and injury, whether physical, mental, or something else, is represented by stress. Stress is temporary damage; fatigue, bruising, embarrassment, or something else, depending on the source of the attack. Characters have stress boxes, and mark off a box or equal or greater value to the stress they suffer. Regardless of how much stress a character takes though, it all goes away after they’ve had a chance to catch their breath and relax, usually at the end of the scene. If a character is dealt stress but the player can’t mark any of their stress boxes to absorb the, they get taken out of the scene. That means their opponent gets to decide what happens to them, and in a Fate fantasy game that’s inspired by D&D and Pathfinder, getting taken out probably means the character is killed. Or at the very least captured.
Characters also have a number of consequence slots. A player can mark a consequence slot to absorb a number of points of stress; 2 for a mild, 4 for a moderate, or 6 points of stress for a severe consequence. Unlike stress boxes though, consequence slots don’t clear so quickly. Mild consequences clear after a whole scene, moderate after a whole session, and severe after a whole scenario. On top of that, consequences are aspects that can be invoked and compelled like any other. But as consequences are aspects, a player will earn a Fate point when an opponent invokes them, or someone compels them. They are part of the Fate point economy, and allowing players to clear Consequences too quickly deprives them of those Fate points.
I’m discussing all this because one of the most common abilities of D&D style fantasy clerics is the power to heal injury. Emulating that in Fate was causing me problems given how stress and consequences work, so I just avoided making a cleric. But I’m never one to turn down a (reasonable) request, and I think I found a decent solution.
The Lay On Hands stunt allows the cleric an attempt to overcome the target’s consequence. If successful, rather than being completely removed, the severity of the consequence decrease by one level. Severe to moderate, moderate, to mild, and mild to gone. The difficulty to reduce the consequence increases with the level of the consequence being healed, and the stunt costs a Fate point to use. With a Fair Careful approach , the cleric will more than likely succeed at clearing a mild consequence, will need to invoke an aspect to reduce a moderate consequence, and will need to invoke several aspects or have help to reduce a severe consequence.
It’s an expensive stunt to use, but I feel that’s necessary to prevent the cleric from being able to completely heal people multiple times a session. Players choose when to take consequences, and like anything in Fate, aspects chosen by the player are things they think are interesting. They should hang around for a bit so players get to make those choices matter.
Half Elf Cleric
High Concept: Resolute Half Elf Celric
Motivation: I Must Succor Those in Need
Aspect: Born Amid the Boughs of Brambleholme
Aspect: Trained at the Temple of Nitria
Aspect: Steel-shod Holy Staff of St. Pachomius
- Careful: Fair (+2)
- Clever: Mediocre (+0)
- Flashy: Fair (+2)
- Forceful: Good (+3)
- Quick: Average (+1)
- Sneaky: Average (+1)
- Front-line Faith: Because I am a capable melee combatant, whenever I Forcefully defend against a physical attack, I suffer one less stress.
- Lay On Hands: Because I magically knit the flesh of my allies with a touch, I can spend a Fate point to Carefully overcome a Consequence representing physical injury on another character. The opposition is equal to the level of the Consequence (2, 4, or 6), and if successful, the Consequence’s severity is reduced by one level, or cleared if Mild.
- Turn Undead: Because I can channel divine light, I can Flashily create an advantage on every Undead character in my zone, giving a Disrupted, Panicked, or Weakened aspect to each defender I succeed against.
Stress: ▢ ▢ ▢
- Mild (2):
- Moderate (4):
- Severe (6):
The character illustration is the free paper mini made by Printable Heroes. The free versions are backless, but if you support the Patreon at just $1 a month you get minis with backs. For $2 a month you get access to “reskins”, and for $3 a month you get multiple color options. That’s a fantastic deal.