This is by far the most popular class among my players in the three different times we’ve had fresh characters rolled up with the dual classes available. It’s not really difficult to understand why. Templars have the most hp and best thac0 of the bunch, they’re an excellent bruiser class, and they get a fair amount of nearly free healing that hits a group of players at a time. I encourage players to use the Templar as a centerpiece of the battlefield, use spells to draw attention to yourself, and spend the rest of the time swinging away. Clerics have a good range of spells that are more useful outside of combat, with only a few besides healing that really shine to the levels that one of the Mage classes can perform.
So now that we’re into spells, I should probably note a couple of things about Clerics in my world. Aside from the Channeler (which is the last class I’ll be covering), all Clerics are required to pick from the pantheon of gods common to their homeland. The reason for this is that I do enforce a rule in which Clerics can not cast spells from a domain type that opposes any of the types their god provides. Also, instead of providing some arbitrary bonus to the domain spells, Clerics receive one domain focused lesser ability when they prepare in the morning, and can switch it to one of their other domains once per day.
The list of gods, domains, and powers are in this document. It’s a little messy, but it works for me. I have another document that goes into much more detail with the gods, but it’s not relevant to the rules. Mostly flavor stuff that I try to work in. An important thing to note as far as balance goes, the more powerful the god, the more domains they control. This means a greater range of the domain abilities are available for the Greater gods, but you’re also more limited in your spellcasting because of the opposing domains.
Frequently the only gods with major temples in the cities will be the greater ones. Intermediate gods will have shrines where priests would meet on holy days, across the country you will find one major temple dedicated to each of the intermediate gods, but they’re far from common. The lesser gods are generally praised but not exclusively worshiped except by small isolated groups of people. Some barbarian camps worship Tempus exclusively, or a small covenant of whores and prostitutes would openly worship Llirra.
Here’s the class document for Templars
Moving on into the actual playstyle of the class. One of the changes I made for Clerics is to allow all of them to have religious enemies from level 1, each god listed (in my flavor notes) has a religions enemy. Pelor has undead, Oghma has barbarians, Tyr has chaotic non-humans. Some, like Chauntea specify followers of another god as religious enemies. Early on this is just a small bonus to hit and damage, but starting at level 4 the Templar can mark their enemies at range with the symbol of his god. Causing them to be a more distinct target and granting some of his hit and damage bonus to allies.
Level 2, quite early in the campaign, is where the Templar receives their signature ability, Healing Smite. The Templar needs to declare using a 0-level spell slot and the normal weapon damage rolled heals allies within 20′ of him. Using great weapons makes this quite powerful at low levels. Because the WIL requirement is high enough, they’re guaranteed to receive 4 bonus 0 level slots +1 per level. Starting at level 2 they have the ability to Healing Smite 6 times per day. Normally Clerics use their 0-level slots are used to do a healing touch for 3hp(+1 per 2 levels).
When they reach level 6, they have the option of returning to their temple to receive a holy weapon of their god, or have one crafted specifically if it’s a lesser god. This can sometimes go unused if the Templar favors their greatweapon over the chosen weapon of their god, but it’s still important to them for religious purposes. 4th level and higher spells must be cast using the holy weapon. They also have the ability to expend a spell slot to imbue their holy weapon with a magical bonus equal to the level of the spell. This can come in handy when fighting all sorts of magical or incorporeal creatures, or things that have immunity to normal weapons by other means. In some campaigns, this might be the first time players actually get a taste of a normal magical weapon too. Lately I’ve been running games that go very slim pickings on the magic items, and when they do show up they’re more like trinkets with limited scope and power.
Reaching 8th level grants the Templar the ability to temporarily gain some of the powers of an avatar of their god. They grow much larger and stronger for a short duration and depending on the domain receive additional abilities related to them determined at the time of the casting. This can only be used for 4 rounds at a time, and is subject to the standing a Templar holds with his god. Basically what that boils down to, is the first time in a day is a given, but anything past that better have a damn good convincing reason. There is a fairly tough drawback of using this ability, in that anything left standing when it runs its course is going to have free shots on you as a prone target. This isn’t an ability that is used at the beginning of a fight, and is usually reserved for last-ditch efforts where the Templar needs to either finish the fight, or save the party somehow.
By the time a Templar makes it to level 10 he will likely be well-known by his god and will be assigned Paladins to his service provided there is justification within the campaign for them. This is a nod to the older sets of rules where Fighters would gain followers over time, and higher level Paladins would be assigned Cavaliers to serve them in quests. Levels after 10 for the Templar are also up to the players discretion. I haven’t fleshed them out much deeper because of how rarely the players make it this far before a campaign comes to full resolution or we take an extended break.
One last thing to note, some of the classes are stronger or weaker than others. The Templar definitely weighs heavy on the more survivable side of the spectrum. I try to be very transparent about the effectiveness of some of these classes in combat. I know full well that when it comes to looking at the traditional classes, these ones FAR outshine them, but I also do things from within the campaign that allow a pure Fighter to be on-par with one of these as well. Actually, campaign balance might be a nice side topic to get into. I’ll have to get a post up about that in the near future.