Dwarven Cleric for DCC RPG

DCC RPG Limited Edition CoverJust before the holidays, Dak (of Crawl! Fanzine fame) posted in the DCC RPG Google+ community about expanding some of the demi-humans race as class options. The one that intrigued me was allowing the Dwarf as written to be the dwarven fighter or warrior and adding a dwarven priest or cleric.

I found myself with a bit of time over the holidays and took a stab at the dwarven cleric class option for Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG. I tried to blend the dwarf class with the cleric class without ending up with something too powerful. I think I am close on the right blend while maintaining some dwarven flavor.

If it needs toned down a bit more I would look at the number of spells again. I’ve reduced them some, but I think I might have room to reduce those some more. Of course, I cut down a lot of the base dwarven class, really keeping a much slower progression rate for Mighty Deed of Arms than a standard dwarf as an ode to being a dwarf.

I have not been able to run this through an actual playtest yet. I am hoping to talk the judge for my new DCC RPG local game to letting me try it out. In either case, give this class a read through and let me know what you think. Feedback is welcomed!


CC License, Arty by *YamaO at Deviant Art

CC License, Arty by *YamaO at Deviant Art

Dwarven Cleric Class 

Like their fellow dwarves, dwarven clerics were raised far underground in dwarven mines, strongholds, and great cities. Subscribing to the orderly and rigid life that keeps dwarven society functioning, the dwarven cleric took an interest in the gods of the land. In addition to years of martial training and learning crafts, the dwarven cleric was instructed in centuries religious knowledge and ritual.

The dwarven cleric is a valued member of dwarven society. Life beneath the surface is treacherous. Mining accidents, natural cavern collapses, and near constant skirmishes with other denizens of the dark guarantee physical injury that drive demand for the healing care of a priest. Simply boosting the mental fortitude amongst dark and confined caverns is one of the facets of a dwarven cleric that add to their worth to the dwarven society.

With their martial training, spells, and luck of the gods to aid them during battle, dwarven clerics are an anchor to the foothold these demi-humans claim under the mountains. These features also serve to make them stout adventuring companions.

Hit Die: A dwarven cleric gains 1d8 hit points at each level

Weapon Training: Much like their brethren, dwarven clerics prefer battle with a weapon and shield. With time spent training split between martial and religious training a dwarven cleric is only trained in the following melee weapons: battleaxe, club, handaxe, mace, spear, and warhammer. A dwarven cleric is also trained in these missile fire weapons: crossbow and sling. Dwarven clerics wear whatever armor they can afford.

Alignment: The dwarven life produces many more lawful dwarves due to the structured clan life of dwarves. Coupled with learning the tenets of the religious way dwarven clerics are slanted even more heavily to a lawful alignment.

Rare are the dwarves who stray from the lawful path after studying the ways of religion, but chaotic dwarven clerics do exist. These dwarven clerics have typically rebelled strongly against their roots or some say been tainted by the patrons and deities they serve.

Neutral dwarven clerics are even rarer and tend to be dwarves that have little direction in their lives. These dwarven clerics frequently find themselves more beholden to natural elements than lawful or chaotic deities.

Attack modifier: The dwarven cleric starts with a static modifier for attack rolls. At 3rd level the dwarven cleric gains a deed die, like the Dwarf. At 3rd level, this is a d3. The dwarven cleric rolls the d3 on each attack roll and applies it to both his attack roll andhis damage roll. The progression of this deed die is at a reduced rate compared to Dwarven or Warrior classes.

Caster level: Caster level is typically the level of the dwarven cleric. This level can be modified under certain circumstances. It is not unheard of for a dwarven cleric to seek out holy relics of their faith to increase their caster level.

Magic: Dwarven clerics are able to call upon the favor of his god. This ability allows the dwarven cleric to channel his chosen god’s power as a magical spell.Dwarven clerics are also able to call upon their deity to lay on hands and turn unholy. See the Cleric entry in the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG rulebook for a complete description of clerical magic.

Divine Aid: In addition to channeling a god’s power as a devout worshipper, a dwarven cleric can beseech his deity for divine aid. Faithful followers recognize that beseeching a deity directly is an extraordinary act. To request divine aid, the cleric makes a spell check at the same modifier that would apply were he casting a spell. This extraordinary act imparts a cumulative +10 penalty to future disapproval range. Based on the result of the spell check, the judge will describe the result. Simple requests (e.g. light a candle) are DC 10 and extraordinary requests (e.g. summon and control a living column of fire are DC 18 or higher.

Mighty Deed of Arms: Dwarven clerics have been exposed to martial training during their religious studies. Like Warriors and Dwarves, they can perform Mighty Deed of Arms in combat. See the warrior entry in the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG rulebook for a complete description.

Infravision: A dwarven cleric can see in the dark up to 60’.

Slow: A dwarven cleric has a base movement speed of 20’.

Underground Skills: Lives led underground train dwarves to detect certain kinds of construction. When underground, dwarves receive a bonus to detect traps, slanting passages, shifting walls, and other new construction equal to their class level.

A dwarf cleric can smell gold and gems. A dwarf cleric can determine the direction of a strong concentration of gold or gems within 100’. Smaller concentrations, even down to a single coin, can be smelled up to 40’ away if the dwarf concentrates.

Luck: A dwarven cleric’s luck applies to the armor class.

Languages: A dwarven cleric at 1st level knows Common, the dwarven racial language, plus Angelic if Lawful, Demonic if Chaotic or the choice of either if Neutral. A dwarven cleric knows one additional language for every point of Int modifier, as described in Appendix L of the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG rulebook.

Action Dice: A dwarven cleric receives their second action dice at 6th level. A dwarven cleric’s action dice can be used for attack rolls or spell checks.

Table: Dwarven Cleric

Level Attack (Deed Die) Crit Die/Table Action Dice Ref Fort Will 1 2 3 4 5
1 +0 1d8/III 1d20 +0 +1 +1 2
2 +1 1d10/III 1d20 +0 +1 +1 3
3 +d3 1d12/III 1d20 +1 +1 +2 3 2
4 +d3 1d14/III 1d20 +1 +2 +3 4 3
5 +d3 1d12/IV 1d20 +1 +3 +3 4 4 1
6 +d4 1d14/IV 1d20+1d14 +2 +3 +4 5 4 2
7 +d4 1d16/IV 1d20+1d14 +2 +4 +4 5 5 3 1
8 +d4 1d20/V 1d20+1d16 +2 +4 +5 6 5 3 2
9 +d4 1d24/V 1d20+1d16 +2 +5 +5 6 5 4 2
10 +d7 1d30/V 1d20+1d20 +3 +5 +6 7 6 5 3 1


Table: Dwarven Cleric Titles

Level Title by Alignment
  Lawful Chaotic Neutral
1 Acolyte Supplicant Celebrant
2 Brother Beseecher Beseecher
3 Friar Zealot Zealot
4 Vicar Oracle Matriarch
5 Warrior Priest Everlasting Indoctrinator


DCC RPG Character Class Series Summary

Over the past several weeks The Iron Tavern has been taking a close look at each of the character classes in Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG. I primarily did the series with intent of highlighting some of the class features and some of my own thoughts for those on the fence about the game or just curious about the classes it offers. A secondary benefit was to give me a more structured way of taking a look at each character class to improve my judging in DCC RPG games. Overall I am pretty happy with how the series turned out.

Before we completely leave the topic I wanted to bring all the classes together in this one final character class post. This should provide an even easier entry point for those late to the series. I will provide links to the post and a very high-level one or two line summary of the class.

The Warrior

The first class I looked at to kick off the series. Mighty Deed of Arms. This is the mechanic that makes the Warrior a wonderfully fun class while not killing the player’s creativity with an overabundance of feats. Wizards of the Coast is trying to figure this out with combat superiority in 5e and overcomplicating it, but DCC RPG already has it figured it out.

The Thief

The DCC RPG thief is a throwback to an old school thief for the most part. The modified luck mechanic is what sets them apart from the others and having the ability to survive on luck and wits!

The Dwarf

With the return of race is class for demi-humans, the dwarf is quite warrior like. They have the ability to use Might Deed of Arms and they get to use a shield bash from level one! Between Mighty Deed of Arms and Shield bashing I can really emulate that rough and tumble dwarf that is ready to charge headstrong into harm’s way.

The Cleric

Alignment matters again. Don’t make your deity angry. The DCC RPG cleric has a “classic” feel to me with some interesting twists.

The Halfling

Referred to as “rolling balls of death” in one game I ran. Between an excellent modified luck mechanic what party wouldn’t want one in their party?! Throw in dual wielding and “rolling balls of death” don’t seem so far-fetched!

The Wizard

Magic is dangerous. Random tables dictate whether your spell is ultra-powerful or just so-so. This line from the rulebook best sums it up – “Use a torch, fool; it is much safer!”.

The Elf

The DCC RPG elf takes us back to the elves I remember from the Moldvay Basic set being able to both cast and engage in melee. But be careful of the iron!

And that officially concludes my weekly look at DCC RPG character classes. Overall I am quite satisfied with the character classes in Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG. Each has something fun to make it its own!

DCC RPG: The Dwarf

This is the third installment in my weekly series of looking at each of the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG character classes. The first week I looked at the warrior and last week I looked at the thief. Be sure to check those articles out as well! This week I am taking a closer look at the dwarf character class.

The Class

Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG returns to the mechanic of the case of the demi-human characters being your class, as well as your race. Elves, Dwarves, and Halflings are both race and class. In the Dwarf’s case he is very much like the warrior class with a few features to make him unique.

The DCC RPG dwarf is quite true to what I would consider a traditional feel for a dwarf in fantasy RPGs. They love the sight of treasure, short, stout, and strong, albeit wild, fighters. They live below the surface and tend to have excellent martial skills or craftsmen.

Dwarves start with a d10 hit dice, putting them a little below a human warrior, but still towards the top of the stack. Dwarves prefer battling with a weapon and shield and have a rather broad list of weapons they are trained in. They are free to wear whatever armor they can afford.

The same three alignments are available to the dwarf as the other character classes. The rulebook covers what type of dwarf might choose which alignment.

Dwarves have similar attack modifier mechanics as the warrior class does. They receive a deed die that they roll with each attack. This roll on the deed die applies to the attack and damage rolls and will vary depending on level which determines the deed die. At first level the dwarf would roll a d3 and add the result to attack and damage. As the dwarf levels, this die increases in the number of sides.

Also like the warrior the Dwarf can attempt a Mighty Deed of Arms. This allows them, like the warriors, to attempt special maneuvers during combat that succeed based on the value of the deed die. I am a big fan of this mechanic which I explain in my earlier warrior post. Be sure to check that post out for why I am a huge fan of the Mighty Deed of Arms.

Image Courtesy: http://interartcenter.net

Next up we have the sword and board feature. Dwarves like to fight with a shield and a weapon. If a dwarf fights with a shield the dwarf gains shield bash as a second attack – even at first level. The attack with the shield uses a lesser die to hit and does a small amount of damage, but I like the flavor. A Mighty Deed of Arms can be used with the shield bash.

Dwarves of course have infravision due to their time spent below the surface. They also have the slow movement speed of 20′.

Due to their time spent underground Dwarves have a list of underground skills allowing them bonuses to several types of skill checks when made underground. Another interesting feature is that they can smell gold and gems and determine which direction they are in depending on the amount of gold or gems near.

Finally, the dwarf can apply luck to one specific kind of weapon as the warrior does. They also start the game knowing the dwarven racial language.

My Impression

I find the Dwarven class in Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG really hit the right feel for dwarves for me. I do not mind that they made the race a character class that predefines its role. Sure, we might not see Dwarven Wizards or Rogues, but those should be fairly rare to begin with. The class as presented in DCC RPG does a good job of representing the typical dwarf.

Much like the warrior, the Mighty Deeds of Arms is a very fun mechanic. It works equally well with the Dwarven class. It also allows a Dwarven character many options.

From Forgotten Realms novels I have always had a fondness for Thibbledorf Pwent, a dwarven beserker. In D&D 3.x games or Pathfinder games I have had a hard time emulating this type of dwarf. I think with the Mighty Deeds at Arms and a judge I trusted that I could build a dwarven beserker with less trouble.

The other mechanic I really like from the Dwarven class is the sword and board feature. I always think of dwarves in close formation, shield in one hand, hammer or axe in the other. The sword and board class feature helps keep the shield useful for more than just an increased AC and allows the Dwarf to use it in battle to cause damage. I like the feel this gives the DCC RPG dwarf.

I have judged for a couple of dwarves in actual play. The characters seemed to do well and with the use of Mighty Deeds at Arms were able to do some excellent things. I recall one battle where the two dwarves formed up a shield wall to help cover a retreat.

The Dwarven character class is yet another class in DCC RPG that hits the right notes for me. The character class feels like what a dwarf should be in fantasy RPGs!

Next Week

So far I have looked at the Warrior class, the Thief and now this week the Dwarf. What would you like to see me look at more closely next? Post here in the comments or on either Google+ or Twitter and let me know which class I should turn to next!