Cleric - not a Crusader any more!


Classes: Cleric, Druid, and Paladin

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

Allow me to propose a bit of a radical thought.

In 1st and 2nd Ed D&D, the model of the cleric was as a fighting crusader, an armored holy warrior who led armies of the faithful. Clerics were only partial casters, much like bards. They only got spells up to 7th level, and their spells were usually weaker than those of wizards. They could do stuff magic-users couldn't (healing, raising the dead, some kinds of divination), but other than those niches they were strictly second-rate. Even an M-U's buff spells were usually better than a cleric's. Still, clerics could use decent weapons, good armor, they had good attacks and saves.

Their spells got a little better in 2nd Ed but not that much (some horrifically broken FR splatbook spells aside), but still they were a split-focus class.

Fast forward to 3rd Ed. All of a sudden clerics and druids are full-on hardcore spellcasters who get just as many spells as wizards do per day, who actually KNOW more spells than most wizards cuz they don't have to worry about acquiring them or forbidden schools for specialists or any of that. They just get the whole list. More to the point, their spells are now, with few exceptions, just as good as or better than the wizard's spells. Casting-wise, they are pretty much even with the wizard now.

But they still have twice as many hit points, better saving throws, full armor proficiency, and their magic for reasons only the universe can understand is unimpeded by wearing armor, where a wizard's gets the royal bone. The wizard's only advantage is theoretical versatility (if he can learn enough different spells) and more variety (though usually not much more power) of offensive spells.

So here's the radical thought:

Since clerics and druids are now full-fledged spellcasters, why don't we do away with their armor proficiency and their ability to cast spells in armor without spell failure?

They still have a big enough advantage over wizards with better saves and hit points and BAB. Do we really have to rub it in further?

Also, if we take away the ease of armoring up, we cut down one of the ways in which the Clr/Drd outclasses the martial classes.

It would be a huge break with backwards comp, but what do you think?


I would certainly like a "scholarly cleric" variant. A lot of classes get choices of class features, and the cleric would benefit from choices like this as well. I was actually just talking with my roommate about how the big reason why he's never wanted to play a cleric is because he wouldn't want to deal with armor and physical combat.


I was thinking about this and I thought perhaps a good compromise might be to give the clerics either their current BAB+Heavy Armour *OR* Wizard's HD and BAB, 4 skill points, and Cleric Domains. This way the cleric can either go full on caster or retain the warrior priest but still have considerable spellcasting power.


I would be ok with them losing heavy armor. But other then that I you lose to much backward compatibility with arcane spell failure


I've long thought that clerics should not have Heavy Armour proficiency. The Norman war-priests certainly didn't and the Knights Templar were fighter-clerics at best. I'll certainly be happy to see cloistered clerics as default.


There is a PrC called the "Contemplative" that I have considered using as a base for constructing a full-fledged Cleric class. Nonetheless, I do think this is fundamentally changing not just the mechanics and feel, but also the role of the class and thus does not really belong in Pathfinder. Your idea is more modest in scope and thus might fight fit better with the Pathfinder RPG.

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

Dennis da Ogre wrote:
I was thinking about this and I thought perhaps a good compromise might be to give the clerics either their current BAB+Heavy Armour *OR* Wizard's HD and BAB, 4 skill points, and Cleric Domains. This way the cleric can either go full on caster or retain the warrior priest but still have considerable spellcasting power.

I could certainly get behind an option like this.

Maybe even simpler:

choose armor/shield proficiency OR choose domains


Jason Nelson wrote:
Dennis da Ogre wrote:
I was thinking about this and I thought perhaps a good compromise might be to give the clerics either their current BAB+Heavy Armour *OR* Wizard's HD and BAB, 4 skill points, and Cleric Domains. This way the cleric can either go full on caster or retain the warrior priest but still have considerable spellcasting power.

I could certainly get behind an option like this.

Maybe even simpler:

choose armor/shield proficiency OR choose domains

That idea does not work as well due to multiclassing issues. The domains powers were added so that clerics have something to stay in the class that prestige classes do not provide, so domains need to stay unless another such feature is provided.

Liberty's Edge

I have never understood why divine magic doesn't suffer fron spell failure too. Since that would definately go against backwards compatibility, I understand not changing it. But dropping Heavy Armor proficiency? I'm all for that!

Wayfinders

Unearthed Arcana page 50 has rules for the "cloistered cleric," which is a less-martial, more-spellcaster, version. Only light or no armor, d6 hit die, etc.


Count me in as another voice in favor of dropping the Heavy Armor proficiency. Anything that helps further distinctions between classes that are visible in early levels is a plus for me and my game.

I would also be in favor of further casting clerics as agents of large scale change (beyond the typical and frequently visited Armageddon). In my mind the more arcane wizard classes are essentially in it for themselves. They might have high and noble goals or base ignoble goals but they are essentially individualists. There are Wizard's tower, but communities of clerics. Make clerics able to enhance the effectiveness of their spells by acting in union with other similarly minded clerics. One cleric will never have the power of a similar wizard at the same level of progression. But two clerics acting as a single group might have more power than two wizards acting as individuals. A typical cleric would increase in power, more slowly and never reaching the power of wizard, but would also grow in ability to enhance spells by working in ever increasing larger and larger groups. Status would come from coordinating the effectiveness of larger groups and not from a simple increase in individual power.


Better yet drop the paladin class completely, then substitute the cleric with the divine spellcaster variant from the PHB 2.
Knights should be fighters, Clerics are priests.
If someone wants to play a "Holy Warrior" then fill out that little line on the character sheet that says "deity" and play the character as a devout fighter.

I know not real popular idea huh?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Jason Nelson wrote:

...

Fast forward to 3rd Ed. All of a sudden clerics and druids are full-on hardcore spellcasters who get just as many spells as wizards do per day, who actually KNOW more spells than most wizards cuz they don't have to worry about acquiring them or forbidden schools for specialists or any of that. They just get the whole list. More to the point, their spells are now, with few exceptions, just as good as or better than the wizard's spells. Casting-wise, they are pretty much even with the wizard now.

...

Okay - for the record clerics and druids got "just as many spells as wizards" in 1st and 2nd edition too - more in fact because *they* got bonus spells from Wisdom, magic-users did not get bonus spells from Intelligence. They got the same spell levels up to 11-12th, then Magic-users kept going while clerics only eventually got 7th level spells - but those were about as powerful as 9th for magic-users.

So they've always been "full-on hardcore spellcaster". And even in 1st edition they "knew" all cleric spells without acquiring them.

I heartily disagree that their offensive spells are now as good or better than a wizard's, at the very least the damaging ones are weaker. They have indeed equaled out in other respects though, I agree (buffing, etc.)

But take it from someone who's first character was a cleric with a 16 strength getting +1 to damage, next to a fighter with 18/76 getting +2/+4 - Clerics were *casters* - not fighters.


this will be breif since i feel i've said this before.

Clerics need to be a powerful class. They need to keep their good spells, their hp, their heavy armor, everything. These are neceesities due to their role. Where the wizard can hang in the back slinging fireballs all day, the cleric is necessarily up in the front line, and quite liable to take a few hits. Clerics need to have a good repitoire of 'strong' actions to take, so that their turns which they don't spend healing feel meaningful.

As someone who has played both 'caster' clerics and wizards.. trust me, the wizard spell list is far stronger. Cleric spells are great, but they don't compete with a whole array of awesome wizard spells, solid fog, cloudkill, ray of enfeeblement, enervation, wall of force, disintigrate, telekenesis and teleport are all first-class wizard only spells.


I agree ... clerics needs heavy armour ... differently from wizards, they have to enter the battlefield, in the worst places of the fight, at least to cure dying allies ... they shoudn't have any chance if they were just weak and unprotected like wizards ... if you really want then weak and unprotected, then all the cure spell must become ranged spell ....

Dark Archive

JahellTheBard wrote:
I agree ... clerics needs heavy armour ... differently from wizards, they have to enter the battlefield, in the worst places of the fight, at least to cure dying allies ... they shoudn't have any chance if they were just weak and unprotected like wizards ... if you really want then weak and unprotected, then all the cure spell must become ranged spell ....

Sure. This is a perfectly reasonable change, especially if a "cloistered cleric" approach is being adopted. The idea of the medic being at the back and supporting the frontline combatants becomes that much more of a reality in-game. I do like the idea of the cleric's frontline offensive power being reduced by removing armor proficiency (though this is easily reacquired with feats) and I don't think this a significant break with the "backwards compatibility" goal. For something to be backwards compatible with something else, it doesn't have to be the same (it wouldn't be new), just able to be run on the same "system". For example, if Pathfinder were to make the cleric a cloistered spellcaster type, supporting and buffing the melee classes and supporting the arcane casters with the odd attack spell (with powerful effects against enemies of the faith such as undead and outsiders), then even were they to remove armor proficiency and reduce HD and BAB, even change the spell list and spells-per-day number and class features, then this would still be backwards compatible. As in, a DM would be able to run a party containing a new cleric using the new rules through an adventure where the villain is an evil cleric using the old rules, and both clerics would function fine. Even if the old cleric is buffing himself and charging into melee while the new cleric stays behind the fighter and flame strikes and buffs the rogue, both of the rulesets are still functioning compatibly, and are therefore backwards compatible.

Sadly two very strong changes that would help implement the cloistered cleric variant, making healing spells ranged and making the powerful divine stat-buffs such as Divine Power unable to target the caster (thus making fighters etc. more important) are examples of something that would if not quite break, strain backwards compatibility, as changing those spells would affect "old" clerics written with those spells in their spell selections. At worst, those edited spells could be written in as new cleric spells, rendering the old versions redundant, but still functional and identical for those unwilling to swap to the new versions.

The main upcry against such a change is those who wish to play the current type of strong, crusading armored cleric. Although in some cases it could be said that those who complain about spending all their actions healing and buffing shouldn't play a (primarily) support class like a bard or cleric, the issue is more the flavour of being attatched to the divine and still being able to dice up heretics in full plate. Fortunately for these people, the old cleric class is still available, as is the new (possibly upgraded) paladin and at last glance more than a few prestige classes from 3.5 that are - thank Pathfinder - backwards compatible. No character concept goes truly wanting, and the "fighter" class concept gets a little more room to breathe.

Scarab Sages

I too have long felt (since around 1999) that clerics have become too good at both the things they do. I also agree with Jason N. that the paladin has become the crusader, and the cleric remains a super-crusader when they should really be a priest. It strikes me as incongruous that every capable priest with a legitimate connection to their deity in the campaign world also happens to be pretty darn good at warfare (especially since in the Campaign Setting it suggests most clerics don't adventure). I realize some priests would just be Adepts, but that has limitations. Kind of hard to be High Priest if you can't cast miracle.

Aside from the "eliminating armor or domains" variant, which could work, I don't see a way around the problem. Clerics wearing full plate is pretty entrenched in the game, and I happen to like that.

What I would like to see is a full-on elimination of domains, except perhaps for bonus domain spells. The extra domain powers have the effect of:

A. Improving the cleric class just slightly too much.

B. Making the cleric a pain in the neck to run or stat up, as each domain power is sort of unique.

So, rather than just get rid of them, I say just tone down what domains offer. This has no effect on the 3.5 statblocks, but should mean the PRPG cleric is not so much more attractive than the other classes.

Another idea, Jason Bulmahn has already linked deity to Martial Weapon Proficiency. Why not just link deity to armor proficiency? This is a bit more complicated, especially in reworking the deities. Basically only a cleric whose deities portfolio includes war (or something synonymous) would receive Heavy Armor Proficiency.


awp832 wrote:


Clerics need to be a powerful class.

Actually, that's only one possible way to make sure healing is provided for, and there are many others, many of which I personally like better:

  • Rather than sending in the heavily armoured bandaids, give them a heal gun. In other words: Either make heal spells ranged spells, or give clerics a feat or class ability so they can use them at short range. That way, they can stay back - maybe a couple of steps ahead of the arcane artillery and on the same level as ranged units - and still heal.

  • Rather than giving them tons of powerful stuff so they can make the non-healing rounds count, speed up healing. Again, feats and class abilities could work to make healing something they can do in addition to their normal allotment of abilities.

    I'd say with those changes in place, the mob rioting at the announcement that heavy armour is dropped from the clerics' list of proficiencies would be considerably smaller, and you might even be able to drop down HD and BAB (though in that case I'd give them a spell - maybe divine power - or ability that would make them give up their healing perks for a considerable attack boost and some temporary HP so they can return to their old role of divine crusader every once in a while)


  • KaeYoss wrote:


  • Rather than sending in the heavily armoured bandaids, give them a heal gun. In other words: Either make heal spells ranged spells, or give clerics a feat or class ability so they can use them at short range. That way, they can stay back - maybe a couple of steps ahead of the arcane artillery and on the same level as ranged units - and still heal.

  • Channel Energy.


    toyrobots wrote:
    KaeYoss wrote:


  • Rather than sending in the heavily armoured bandaids, give them a heal gun. In other words: Either make heal spells ranged spells, or give clerics a feat or class ability so they can use them at short range. That way, they can stay back - maybe a couple of steps ahead of the arcane artillery and on the same level as ranged units - and still heal.

  • Channel Energy.

    Channel Energy does not work ... is depends completlty from the allignement of your divinity, so an evil cleric, and sone neutral cannot use it ....


    JahellTheBard wrote:
    toyrobots wrote:
    KaeYoss wrote:


  • Rather than sending in the heavily armoured bandaids, give them a heal gun. In other words: Either make heal spells ranged spells, or give clerics a feat or class ability so they can use them at short range. That way, they can stay back - maybe a couple of steps ahead of the arcane artillery and on the same level as ranged units - and still heal.

  • Channel Energy.

    Channel Energy does not work ... is depends completlty from the allignement of your divinity, so an evil cleric, and sone neutral cannot use it ....

    Eh evil clerics are not widely know for there great healing, you want to heal be good or neutral with the good channel.


    Personally, I say leave them as they are.

    Clerics right now are one of the premiere Classed bad guys the PC's can face. They are that way for all the reasons you describe. They have armor, they have weapons, they have spells.. They are formidable.

    And they have one bonus the PC cleric doesn't- the BBEG usually isn't worried too much about his/her comrades. Aside from bizarre monsters that are built just to thwart the PC's, nothing has inspired fear and the 'OMG kill it NOW!" response more than seeing a (probable) cleric standing in back of the mooks, in dark plate armor and wielding a large spiked mace.
    "kill the robed guy first" already has a niche. That's the wizard. His counters are well known and often exploited.

    Lets leave at least one PC class there for the PC's to be afraid of in battle.

    -S


    Selgard wrote:

    Personally, I say leave them as they are.

    Clerics right now are one of the premiere Classed bad guys the PC's can face. They are that way for all the reasons you describe. They have armor, they have weapons, they have spells.. They are formidable.

    And they have one bonus the PC cleric doesn't- the BBEG usually isn't worried too much about his/her comrades. Aside from bizarre monsters that are built just to thwart the PC's, nothing has inspired fear and the 'OMG kill it NOW!" response more than seeing a (probable) cleric standing in back of the mooks, in dark plate armor and wielding a large spiked mace.
    "kill the robed guy first" already has a niche. That's the wizard. His counters are well known and often exploited.

    Lets leave at least one PC class there for the PC's to be afraid of in battle.

    -S

    Gotta agree here. Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil is like a magnum opus for fighting evil clerics. To this day many gaming group shudder at the mention of Hedrack or the First.

    I'm fine with the cleric as-is for 3.5. Not so fond of all the new SLAs for domains. I'd rather go with the domain spells mechanic and the more uniquely flavored granted powers of 3.5.

    Liberty's Edge

    Jason Nelson wrote:
    Dennis da Ogre wrote:
    I was thinking about this and I thought perhaps a good compromise might be to give the clerics either their current BAB+Heavy Armour *OR* Wizard's HD and BAB, 4 skill points, and Cleric Domains. This way the cleric can either go full on caster or retain the warrior priest but still have considerable spellcasting power.

    I could certainly get behind an option like this.

    Maybe even simpler:

    choose armor/shield proficiency OR choose domains

    what about clerics with gods of war or justice? thosewith the domains of war, glory or protection?

    then they do their gods bidding unarmored and defend those in needs with their bare skins? or have the domains who show the god's favor?

    i do understand people wanting to nerf the cleric, but i can't agree in how they do it...

    my compromise would be to not use Heavy Armor (shield is even used by and had by the rogue) and most clerical orders are more militant than wizards... at least half the gods have a lot of dispossition toward conflict

    either way in the pathfinder campaign setting there already an optional cleric that exchanges his domains for god's weapon proficiency (which now they have) and FIGHTER's BAB and HP

    i found this a good solution, not the nerfing of the cleric bythose who don't like it...

    there was someone who mentioned that one of his friend don't want to play clerics because he doesn't want to use armor... no one forces him... a cleric can go naked to battle if so he/she desires or his/her god(dess) as that of the clergy

    Arakhor wrote:
    I've long thought that clerics should not have Heavy Armour proficiency. The Norman war-priests certainly didn't and the Knights Templar were fighter-clerics at best. I'll certainly be happy to see cloistered clerics as default.

    actually no... the cleric was modeled around the Knight Orders of the Templars, Teutons and Hospitalers... i have the books that say so...

    a Templar was not a Fighter/Cleric, but a ful Cleric... there is just the detail of no Magic in the Real World... unless you hear aboutthe rumour of their heretic rituals... which... could have beenonly to sendsoil over their reputation.

    Takeyabue wrote:
    I would also be in favor of further casting clerics as agents of large scale change (beyond the typical and frequently visited Armageddon). In my mind the more arcane wizard classes are essentially in it for themselves. They might have high and noble goals or base ignoble goals but they are essentially individualists. There are Wizard's tower, but communities of clerics. Make clerics able to enhance the effectiveness of their spells by acting in union with other similarly minded clerics. One cleric will never have the power of a similar wizard at the same level of progression. But two clerics acting as a single group might have more power than two wizards acting as individuals. A typical cleric would increase in power, more slowly and never reaching the power of wizard, but would also grow in ability to enhance spells by working in ever increasing larger and larger groups. Status would come from coordinating the effectiveness of larger groups and not from a simple increase in individual power.

    Wizard's Schools or Academies...

    many Wizard are hermits.. but many are quite the social animals... specially enchanters... also... its easier to learn magic in a community than by themselves...

    the wizard's Schools and Academies are quite shown in fantasy this days, at last as much as the Wizard's tower... which lets admit it... the DMs only used them for antagonists :P

    also there as many theocracies as magocracies... or even more magocracies in Pathfinder RPG Campaign Setting... or other settings... including Forgotten Realms


    I would suggest to keep the Cleric as it is.
    That would be easier for retroactivity.

    But it is possible to bring in the Specialty Priest, like in AD&D 2nd edition :
    - Hit Dice : d6
    - BAB : as wizard
    - Saves : Will
    - Light armor and shield
    - Advanced domain powers
    - Extra domains at levels 8 and 13 (or 7 and 11)

    The hit dice, BAB, saves and armors can vary, according to the domains (ex: War).
    Of course, no "no god" non-sense.

    Scarab Sages

    Seldriss wrote:

    ...

    Of course, no "no god" non-sense.

    And here it is again. what is up with this? Am I the only person out there who thinks that it just as believable that an abstract force chose to imbue you with powers as it is for a deity to have? in fact, shouldn't the abstract forces be stronger? since they aren't entities that can be killed or destroyed? why shouldn't they have champions and mages and warriors of their own? even a scholorly cleric. maybe he devoted all his life's studying to the forces of water and the laws governign it. maybe so much so that the forces of law and water decided to give him special powers. why is that any less believable then a god of water who's demains are law and water deciding to?

    Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

    Majuba wrote:
    Jason Nelson wrote:

    ...

    Fast forward to 3rd Ed. All of a sudden clerics and druids are full-on hardcore spellcasters who get just as many spells as wizards do per day, who actually KNOW more spells than most wizards cuz they don't have to worry about acquiring them or forbidden schools for specialists or any of that. They just get the whole list. More to the point, their spells are now, with few exceptions, just as good as or better than the wizard's spells. Casting-wise, they are pretty much even with the wizard now.

    ...

    Okay - for the record clerics and druids got "just as many spells as wizards" in 1st and 2nd edition too - more in fact because *they* got bonus spells from Wisdom, magic-users did not get bonus spells from Intelligence.

    They did indeed get more spells per day, at lower levels because of WIS-based bonus spells (which only applied to 1st-4th level spells unless you achieved the superhuman feat of boosting a stat above 18 in 1st Ed, which was frickin hard to do) and at higher levels because their spell table gave more spells per day across the board at upper levels. In trying to make a point that they were equally spellcasterous as wizards in 3rd Ed (in spells per day, more in 3.0/3.5 with domain slots vs. generalist wizards/even with specialists), I fumbled muddled the point that

    I was thinking about the number of spells on their spell list and the fact that they had 2 levels of spells that clerics never achieved at all. True, wizards got more spells on their list in 3rd as well, but the numbers are closer in 3rd (1st level spells: wiz 39 vs. cleric 25) than in 1st (wiz 30 vs. cleric 12), plus the fact that clerics have a larger de facto spell list because clerics have 20+ core domains to choose from (8 of these have 1st level spells not on the core cleric list, which brings the cleric's potential selection of first-level spells to 33 vs. 39 for the wizard).

    While an individual cleric will only have two, as a CLASS clerics have a potential spell list that is larger than its core list. A player wanting access to certain spells as a cleric has the entire breadth of domain spells (or, in PF, domain SLAs) to consider in how to create a character.

    Majuba wrote:
    They got the same spell levels up to 11-12th, then Magic-users kept going while clerics only eventually got 7th level spells - but those were about as powerful as 9th for magic-users.

    Common spells:

    Astral spell, gate = 9th for wizards, 7th for clerics

    Symbol = 8th for MUs, 7th for clerics (but MUs got 8 symbols, clerics only 3)

    Control weather = 6th! for MUs, 7th for clerics (and, bafflingly, druids, making them worse at controlling weather than MUs)

    Clerics have level-appropriate spells at 8th and 9th now, in addition to spells that in 1st Ed used to be 7th level spells... and are still 7th level spells (e.g., control weather, destruction, holy word (and its other-aligned flavors), regenerate, restoration (greater), resurrection, symbol (stunning, weakness).

    Of the former 7th level 1st Ed spells, the only ones that got bumped UP in level, having been deemed, better than a 7th level spell should be (and, in your argument, comparable to an 8th/9th wiz spell), were earthquake, energy drain (which also does 2d4 levels at range in 3rd Ed, vs ONE level by touch with a 3-ROUND casting time in 1st Ed), astral projection, gate and 2 symbols that they couldn't cast at all in 1st Ed (death/insanity were MU-only).

    Other spells... meh, I guess we'll agree to disagree. Wish was the great equalizer, since it could match or beat anything a cleric could do with any of their spells (and often with less aging than the spell itself would require - 3 years for wish vs. 5 for restoration), but clerics also had nothing on the power level of Bigby's crushing hand, imprisonment, meteor swarm, prismatic sphere, shape change, temporal stasis, time stop, Otto's irresistible dance, permanency, mind blank, maze, mass charm, delayed blast fireball, reverse gravity, power word stun, anti-magic shell, disintegrate[i] or [i]polymorph any object. You could maybe argue earthquake in the right situation, or holy word if you have the right slate of enemies. Given that things had a lot fewer hit dice back then, HW was more effective then than it is now.

    I'd argue that most of a cleric's 6th and 7th level spells are pretty similar to an MU's 6th and 7th level spells in 1st Ed.

    Majuba wrote:
    So they've always been "full-on hardcore spellcaster". And even in 1st edition they "knew" all cleric spells without acquiring them.

    The comparison of "knowing all spells" was between 3rd Ed Clr and Wiz, not between 1st Ed and 3rd Ed Clr.

    Majuba wrote:
    I heartily disagree that their offensive spells are now as good or better than a wizard's, at the very least the damaging ones are weaker. They have indeed equaled out in other respects though, I agree (buffing, etc.)

    Clerics have indeed made massive leaps and bounds in buffing spells. Consider:

    1st Ed cleric buffs = bless, chant, prayer

    1st Ed MU buffs = enlarge, jump, spider climb, invisibility, strength, haste, infravision, protection from normal missiles, enchanted weapon, polymorph other (for the brave or foolish, since system shock death came up quite a lot in 1st Ed), Tenser's transformation, shape change (the latter two being self-only)

    Compare that with the miscellany of buffing spells available in 3rd.

    Also, my statement was that a cleric's spell list in toto is as good as the wizard's, not that all aspects of their spells were identical or that their arsenal was evenly distributed in a way that matched the wizard. Wizards are still better at offensive blasting. That's one of their schticks. But, they are less good at other things that the cleric is more good at, and the cleric is better now in 3rd Ed at more things than he was in 1st Ed.

    Majuba wrote:
    But take it from someone who's first character was a cleric with a 16 strength getting +1 to damage, next to a fighter with 18/76 getting +2/+4 - Clerics were *casters* - not fighters.

    Sure, which says more about 18/76-00 STR than about the difference of clerics vs. fighters. But a cleric with 16-17 STR compared to a paladin or ranger with 16-17 STR (much more likely than for a straight fighter, due to their multi-stat dependency), or even a fighter with 18/01-50 STR? Not much difference.

    The point is really that in 1st Ed clerics weren't particularly good at EITHER, but I'll point you to Gary's flavor text in the PH:

    "This class of character bears a certian resemblance to religious orders of knighthood of medieval times... The cleric is dedicated to a deity, or deities, and at the same time a skilled combatant at arms... the cleric has theability to wear armor, carry effective weaponry, and engage in hand-to-hand (melee) combat with a reasonable chance of success... Clerics have nearly as good a prospect of success in melee combat as fighters (the best in such situations)."

    The 2nd Ed. text is pretty similar, citing Knights Templar and Hospitalers, Archbishop Turpin in the Song of Roland, the sohei of Japan. "These orders combined military and erligious training with a code of protection and service. Members were trained as knights and devoted themselves to the service of the church."

    Now, whether Gary and Zeb Cook and their buddies actually met those design goals is highly debatable. Of course clerics weren't AS GOOD as fighters at melee. They weren't supposed to be. I have never made the claim that they were primary combatants. They were secondary combatants, who split their focus between casting and fighting, since most of their spells were not combat-relevant. My claim was that in 1st Ed they were secondary casters compared to a wizard. They had more total number of spells, but their spells were overall much lower in power (and capped in total level). I compared them to a 3rd Ed bard, whose spells span 7 levels (0 to 6th), much as a cleric's spells in 1st Ed spanned 7 levels (1st-7th.

    Before you say 0-6 in 3rd is apples-to-oranges from 1st-7th in 1st Ed, remember that nobody had cantrips in pre-Unearthed Arcana and rarely used them even then cuz they were very minimal in effect. Compare the fact that most of the 3rd Ed cantrips/orisons were 1st level spells back in the day (from the cleric list: create water, detect magic, detect poison (UA), light, mending (MU), purify food & drink, read magic (MU)).

    So all of that is a long way of saying, you're right inasmuch as clerics aren't gimp-casters like a paladin or ranger. In 1st Ed, they were better than a 3rd Ed bard - more spells per day, more selection of spells. BUT, I would argue that they were clearly somewhere in between 3rd Ed bards and 1st Ed MUs in terms of their spellcasting powers.

    If you actually read this all the way to the end, then a clerical blessing upon you... :)

    (and thanks for giving me an excuse to pull out my 1st Ed PH - I was getting my son ready for school, and I was his age (10) when I first got that book; he was duly impressed with its oldness)

    Liberty's Edge

    Selgard wrote:

    Personally, I say leave them as they are.

    Clerics right now are one of the premiere Classed bad guys the PC's can face. They are that way for all the reasons you describe. They have armor, they have weapons, they have spells.. They are formidable.

    And they have one bonus the PC cleric doesn't- the BBEG usually isn't worried too much about his/her comrades. Aside from bizarre monsters that are built just to thwart the PC's, nothing has inspired fear and the 'OMG kill it NOW!" response more than seeing a (probable) cleric standing in back of the mooks, in dark plate armor and wielding a large spiked mace.
    "kill the robed guy first" already has a niche. That's the wizard. His counters are well known and often exploited.

    Lets leave at least one PC class there for the PC's to be afraid of in battle.

    -S

    i agree even more with this (i hate where the Cancel button is ¬¬)

    also lets remember.. EVIL GODS onlyhave one ture option for Champions...
    theydon't have Paladins (for Blackguards they need to steal them and get them a prestigue class... so they are scarce)... so evil clerics in full metalregalia, dark and bloody weapons and abad attitude is part of the Fantasy Setting we are playing....

    for those who cried that theycan only negative channel... its for a reason... evil clerics are badasses...

    so yes i agree leave the cleric alone... they might have lots of spells but they are utilitary

    Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

    Jal Dorak wrote:

    I too have long felt (since around 1999) that clerics have become too good at both the things they do. I also agree with Jason N. that the paladin has become the crusader, and the cleric remains a super-crusader when they should really be a priest. It strikes me as incongruous that every capable priest with a legitimate connection to their deity in the campaign world also happens to be pretty darn good at warfare (especially since in the Campaign Setting it suggests most clerics don't adventure). I realize some priests would just be Adepts, but that has limitations. Kind of hard to be High Priest if you can't cast miracle.

    Aside from the "eliminating armor or domains" variant, which could work, I don't see a way around the problem. Clerics wearing full plate is pretty entrenched in the game, and I happen to like that.

    I don't inherently mind clerics in full-plate. I posted the thread just to open the conversation on what clerics are really supposed to be. Are they:

    1. Crusaders (need heavy armor)
    2. Healbots (might need heavy armor)
    3. Supercasters (don't need heavy armor)
    4. Something else that's not so easily quantified...

    Just wanted to see if the original notion of the cleric as armored crusader is still valid, and if so is the cleric too good at it vs. the other armored crusaders in the game (I'm looking at you Mr. Paladin!).

    Basically, does the cleric-as-crusader who also gets to be cleric-as-healbot and cleric-as-caster and cleric-as-undead-reamer make the paladin superfluous, and if so, what can be done to both bring UP the paladin while also trimming away at the cleric's reach to help it not infringe on the paladin's turf.

    If the cleric can do everything the paladin can do, only better, then why bother with the paladin (other than for the fun of playing the role, of course, but you can ACT like a paladin while you're being almost any class, from wizard to rogue; we are talking about the mechanics that make it system-relevant).

    Jal Dorak wrote:

    What I would like to see is a full-on elimination of domains, except perhaps for bonus domain spells. The extra domain powers have the effect of:

    A. Improving the cleric class just slightly too much.

    B. Making the cleric a pain in the neck to run or stat up, as each domain power is sort of unique.

    So, rather than just get rid of them, I say just tone down what domains offer. This has no effect on the 3.5 statblocks, but should mean the PRPG cleric is not so much more attractive than the other classes.

    Another idea, Jason Bulmahn has already linked deity to Martial Weapon Proficiency. Why not just link deity to armor proficiency? This is a bit more complicated, especially in reworking the deities. Basically only a cleric whose deities portfolio includes war (or something synonymous) would receive Heavy Armor Proficiency.

    That... is an interesting idea. I think I rather like it. It's simple, clean, and appropriate.

    A quick noodle on the Golarion deities and where they might fall on something like this:

    Heavy Armor prof: Iomedae, Torag, Gorum, Urgathoa, Rovagug

    Medium Armor prof: Sarenrae, Cayden Cailean, Abadar, Asmodeus, Zon-Kuthon, Lamashtu

    Light Armor prof: Erastil, Shelyn, Desna, Irori, Gozreh, Pharasma, Nethys, Calistria, Norgorber

    Liberty's Edge

    Jason Nelson wrote:

    "This class of character bears a certian resemblance to religious orders of knighthood of medieval times... The cleric is dedicated to a deity, or deities, and at the same time a skilled combatant at arms... the cleric has theability to wear armor, carry effective weaponry, and engage in hand-to-hand (melee) combat with a reasonable chance of success... Clerics have nearly as good a prospect of success in melee combat as fighters (the best in such situations)."

    The 2nd Ed. text is pretty similar, citing Knights Templar and Hospitalers, Archbishop Turpin in the Song of Roland, the sohei of Japan. "These orders combined military and erligious training with a code of protection and service. Members were trained as knights and devoted themselves to the service of the church."

    Now, whether Gary and Zeb Cook and their buddies actually met those design goals is highly debatable. Of course clerics weren't AS GOOD as fighters at melee. They weren't supposed to be. I have never made the claim that they were primary combatants. They were secondary combatants, who split their focus between casting and fighting, since most of their spells were not combat-relevant. My claim was that in 1st Ed they were secondary casters compared to a wizard. They had more total number of spells, but their spells were overall much lower in power (and capped in total level). I compared them to a 3rd Ed bard, whose spells span 7 levels (0 to 6th), much as a cleric's spells in 1st Ed spanned 7 levels (1st-7th.

    thanks to agree with me that clerics are so entrenched in fighting... that is partof their gods calling.

    i agree that the purpose of the clric was to be amiddle focus between fighter and magic user... but as many players would tell you.. most of their spells instead of going to casting... goes to healing... that is why they are msotly support casters... they do more buffs/debuffs and healings and actuall damage... yes there are a few direct damage spells... but not the arsenal array of the Wizard... also the Wizars earns for free "Scribe Scroll" that lets him carry "extra ammo" and now they also receive School Powers, and the Sorceres Bloodlines Powers... and actually get more bonus spells than either cleric or Wizards... so you will nerf the Cleric because their domain powers boost them a bit?

    i really like what Paizo did tothe domain/schools/bloodlines and i would hate them going away just because people can't cope with them as DMs

    also an unarmored cleric is unable to save dying allies... andif you give them ranged healing... that means that you give them ranged attacks versus undeads... are you ready for this?

    Liberty's Edge

    Jason Nelson wrote:
    If the cleric can do everything the paladin can do, only better, then why bother with the paladin (other than for the fun of playing the role, of course, but you can ACT like a paladin while you're being almost any class, from wizard to rogue; we are talking about the mechanics that make it system-relevant).

    I agree... this is a problem with the paladin... but right now at elast in our campaign both the clric and the paladin have shown quite equal, and yes... my cleric does act like a Paladin... but more open minded (she almost hated thepaladin when the ass-stuck-paladin said "i am ok withusing any weapon to fight for justice... there are no innocents so i am ok with it")*they were talking about using negative energy and necromancy (also the paladin's player is a lot younger)

    Jason Nelson wrote:

    Jal Dorak wrote:

    What I would like to see is a full-on elimination of domains, except perhaps for bonus domain spells. The extra domain powers have the effect of:

    A. Improving the cleric class just slightly too much.

    B. Making the cleric a pain in the neck to run or stat up, as each domain power is sort of unique.

    So, rather than just get rid of them, I say just tone down what domains offer. This has no effect on the 3.5 statblocks, but should mean the PRPG cleric is not so much more attractive than the other classes.

    Another idea, Jason Bulmahn has already linked deity to Martial Weapon Proficiency. Why not just link deity to armor proficiency? This is a bit more complicated, especially in reworking the deities. Basically only a cleric whose deities portfolio includes war (or something synonymous) would receive Heavy Armor Proficiency.

    That... is an interesting idea. I think I rather like it. It's simple, clean, and appropriate.

    A quick noodle on the Golarion deities and where they might fall on something like this:

    Heavy Armor prof: Iomedae, Torag, Gorum, Urgathoa, Rovagug

    Medium Armor prof: Sarenrae, Cayden Cailean, Abadar, Asmodeus, Zon-Kuthon, Lamashtu

    Light Armor prof: Erastil, Shelyn, Desna, Irori, Gozreh, Pharasma, Nethys, Calistria, Norgorber

    mmm i kind of like this... ok you take proficiencies from clerics of some gods... what do they egt in exchange?

    i play an Iomedae's Cleric... so i don't have problem... but the rest of the clerics?


    Selgard wrote:

    Clerics right now are one of the premiere Classed bad guys the PC's can face. They are that way for all the reasons you describe. They have armor, they have weapons, they have spells.. They are formidable.

    <snip>

    Lets leave at least one PC class there for the PC's to be afraid of in battle.

    What I read from this is that you feel the game system should have an overly powerful PC class so the DM can use it for making nasty NPCs...

    While I'm a big fan of nasty NPCs as a DM, I think most DMs can compensate for the cleric's loss of power when they are building encounters.


    Jal Dorak wrote:

    What I would like to see is a full-on elimination of domains, except perhaps for bonus domain spells. The extra domain powers have the effect of:

    A. Improving the cleric class just slightly too much.

    B. Making the cleric a pain in the neck to run or stat up, as each domain power is sort of unique.

    So, rather than just get rid of them, I say just tone down what domains offer. This has no effect on the 3.5 statblocks, but should mean the PRPG cleric is not so much more attractive than the other classes.

    Another idea, Jason Bulmahn has already linked deity to Martial Weapon Proficiency. Why not just link deity to armor proficiency? This is a bit more complicated, especially in reworking the deities. Basically only a cleric whose deities portfolio includes war (or something synonymous) would receive Heavy Armor Proficiency.

    I like this idea... but rather than linking Armor Proficiency directly to the deity how about linking it to specific domains as that domain's 'domain power'. That and ratcheting down the domain powers in general as you suggest. The reason I suggest this is because the deities are tied to Golarian and there are many people who will use the system with a different set of deities.

    Liberty's Edge

    Dennis da Ogre wrote:
    Selgard wrote:

    Clerics right now are one of the premiere Classed bad guys the PC's can face. They are that way for all the reasons you describe. They have armor, they have weapons, they have spells.. They are formidable.

    <snip>

    Lets leave at least one PC class there for the PC's to be afraid of in battle.

    What I read from this is that you feel the game system should have an overly powerful PC class so the DM can use it for making nasty NPCs...

    While I'm a big fan of nasty NPCs as a DM, I think most DMs can compensate for the cleric's loss of power when they are building encounters.

    how? magic itmes the player can use? or you would deny them?

    or just plot villains... who are more powerful than they should be because the DM wanted them?

    i find this ridiculous... if an evil cleric or antagonist can be all mighty just because so... you have to give the players the option
    if they have magic items theplayers can recover them

    while sometimes plot can be interesting... sometimes... its just a pretext for excesses

    Grand Lodge

    Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    Mr. Nelson,

    This is similar to the point i tried to make in the Cleric & Druid - Limiting the Spell List thread.

    Obvisouly, you've come at it from a different angle, but you and I have some of the same feelings here. The fact that Cleric/Druid spellcasting is on par with the Wizard, but with automatic spell accessibility (not to mention some nice class abilities) feeds directly into the higher-level CODZilla issue that many DM's & players have had to deal with.

    Pesonally, I'd rather see the Cleric/Druid spell lists culled a bit. Flavor-wise, Clerics need healing and condition removal spells, some buff and bolster spells, but not many attack and direct damage spells. there should be a few of these, but they should be available at high levels (thus requiring an investment in the class, rather than a dip). Similarly the Druid should be limited to some healing, spells that interact with the natural world, a few buffs and a few direct damage spells beyond what the cleric gets. Also, aside from healing, I thing there's alot more overlap in the Cleric/Druid spell lists than is justified by their different flavors.

    -Skeld


    My self I did think they needed brought in a bit. If it was up to me I would strip them of 1 domain, allow light and medium armor and small shields . Leave them there spells as is and there new channel ability.

    This would still make them good at what they need to be good at. and with the extra feats they can still get heavy armor and shields if they like.


    If the Cleric's armour is the issue, versus that of the Arcanists, then it seems reasonable that lifting or reducing the Arcane Spell Failure penalties is the easiest solution.
    Arcanists (Bard/Sorc/Wiz) would then need to purchase Armour and Weapon proficiencies with Feats to try and compete with the Melee-types.

    Also, the idea of absorbing the Paladin into the Cleric has held my favour for sometime in 3.x, and would go further to help-ensure against Multiclassing Cleric-Fighters, as well as boost Paladin players who have wanted a deeper connection with their god.
    This would then negate the idea that all Paladins must be LG, as they would then simply become champions of their god and of their (or related) Alignment.

    Best,

    Scarab Sages

    My biggest concern with the Cleric is that he so heavily steps on the Paladin's toes. There is nothing that a Paladin can do (in general) that a cleric cannot do better with the right choice of domains/deity.

    Part of the problem as i see it is that Paladins used to be a prestige class, just like Blackguard. It was a prestige class a cleric could shift into, either good (Paladin) or evil (Blackguard). So by turning the paladin into a base class, we have CREATED the problem between the fighting cleric and the paladin.

    While this may not solve the problem, this is the best idea i could come up with. If we drop clerics to only having light and medium armor, and shields, but not tower shields, this would balance them somewhat against the bigger fighters. They could still be well armored, and could make up the difference between medium and heavy armor with a little bit of dex bonus anyway, if they didnt want to take the feat. Add to that, restrict their weapon choices to a few simple weapons and the weapon of their god. This would tone down the fighter aspect of the character just a little, hopefully enough to let the paladin shine more in that role. Then we could buff the paladin's class to fully take advantage of what his role is, the Divine Crusader. (Buffs to be discussed in another thread).

    All in all these changes are fairly minor, but i think would help distinguish the paladin from the cleric and make the rolls more defined without breaking backwards compatibility.


    Actually- read from that, that I don't think the Cleric is overly powerful :)

    They are powerful in a vacuum when they have nothing to do all day but stand there and be a PC nemesis- but as a PC they are less so do to several things. (economy of actions, more than 1 encounter to worry about for your spells, having to heal your group through the (dungeon/adventure/area/whatever) rather than just having to be there at the end, and so on).

    As a BBEG they are extremely formidable. As a PC, they are just fine.

    -S


    Montalve wrote:

    how? magic itmes the player can use? or you would deny them?

    or just plot villains... who are more powerful than they should be because the DM wanted them?

    i find this ridiculous... if an evil cleric or antagonist can be all mighty just because so... you have to give the players the option
    if they have magic items theplayers can recover them

    while sometimes plot can be interesting... sometimes... its just a pretext for excesses

    I never suggested giving arbitrary powers or oddball magic items to NPCs, please don't put words into my mouth then pretend to refute things I didn't say.

    The Exchange

    In my group, we've also debated dropping the cleric's free Heavy Armor Proficiency on the foundation that their training in channeling of the divine should bear some sacrifices-- i.e. if a Fighter and Paladin's big boosts are getting Hvy Armor Proficiency, and the assumption is the Cleric has less time for combat training than either of them, then why are they fully proficient with all armor?

    Additionally, this squares cleric better with the favored soul, ala Complete Divine, which already can only wear up to Medium Armor.


    Skeld wrote:
    Pesonally, I'd rather see the Cleric/Druid spell lists culled a bit. Flavor-wise, Clerics need healing and condition removal spells, some buff and bolster spells, but not many attack and direct damage spells. there should be a few of these, but they should be available at high levels (thus requiring an investment in the class, rather than a dip). Similarly the Druid should be limited to some healing, spells that interact with the natural world, a few buffs and a few direct damage spells beyond what the cleric gets. Also, aside from healing, I thing there's alot more overlap in the Cleric/Druid spell lists than is justified by their different flavors.

    I agree with you. Unfortunately I think that's a much tougher nut to crack than the armor proficiency. It completely harpoons any backwards compatibility (even more-so than the armor proficiency). It also ignores the tons of third party cleric spells that are out there and generally contain more destructive/ direct damage than the core spells.

    Liberty's Edge

    Dennis da Ogre wrote:
    I never suggested giving arbitrary powers or oddball magic items to NPCs, please don't put words into my mouth then pretend to refute things I didn't say.

    ok, that is fair

    but what else would be useful to balance encounters?
    more enemies?

    some solutions my work, others would be to bland, other would be TPK

    also... how to work with a preaching evil cleric with mostly buff/debuff spells, little to no armor or no domains?

    i mean when changing the classes we all should think not only on the side of the player... also we need to think in the DM shoes. what would be an interesting encounter or adventure... (not what would be easyfor him to run... i am a DM and i like complexity in my games without them becoming strategy games)


    Montalve wrote:
    Dennis da Ogre wrote:
    I never suggested giving arbitrary powers or oddball magic items to NPCs, please don't put words into my mouth then pretend to refute things I didn't say.

    ok, that is fair

    but what else would be useful to balance encounters?
    more enemies?

    some solutions my work, others would be to bland, other would be TPK

    It depends on the situation and what I was trying to do with the NPC. I don't think there is a hard and fast answer to this.

    If I wanted a cleric who had full armor and not be significantly more dangerous otherwise I would likely just add a level of fighter or warrior class to him giving him the Heavy Armor Proficiency, a save boost, and a little better BAB. This is just off the top of my head because I would likely do something different depending on the actual effect I was trying to achieve.

    Grand Lodge

    Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
    Dennis da Ogre wrote:
    I agree with you. Unfortunately I think that's a much tougher nut to crack than the armor proficiency. It completely harpoons any backwards compatibility (even more-so than the armor proficiency). It also ignores the tons of third party cleric spells that are out there and generally contain more destructive/ direct damage than the core spells.

    Glad someone out there agrees with me. >:)

    Interesting, but I would think that culling spell lists would be one of the easiest things to do. Mechanically, it changes nothing. Converting from older material to PRPG would just require replacing some spells no longer on the list with ones still on the list.

    So far as 3rd party material (or non-OGL for that matter), since it's out of Paizo's control, there's really no need to waste energy thinking about it.

    -Skeld


    I would favour having them lose the automatic armour proficiencies, but not with imposing a spell failure chance. They can still pick up the armour proficiencies through feats.

    Liberty's Edge

    Dennis da Ogre wrote:
    Montalve wrote:
    Dennis da Ogre wrote:
    I never suggested giving arbitrary powers or oddball magic items to NPCs, please don't put words into my mouth then pretend to refute things I didn't say.

    ok, that is fair

    but what else would be useful to balance encounters?
    more enemies?

    some solutions my work, others would be to bland, other would be TPK

    It depends on the situation and what I was trying to do with the NPC. I don't think there is a hard and fast answer to this.

    If I wanted a cleric who had full armor and not be significantly more dangerous otherwise I would likely just add a level of fighter or warrior class to him giving him the Heavy Armor Proficiency, a save boost, and a little better BAB. This is just off the top of my head because I would likely do something different depending on the actual effect I was trying to achieve.

    ok another example, now as player

    i like to play clerics... i usually not use anything heavier than breast plate... and i amhappy with my bab (until i get to divine power...) why should i need to multiclass to be able to pull the roll i always have?

    Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

    Montalve wrote:
    Dennis da Ogre wrote:
    Montalve wrote:
    Dennis da Ogre wrote:
    I never suggested giving arbitrary powers or oddball magic items to NPCs, please don't put words into my mouth then pretend to refute things I didn't say.

    ok, that is fair

    but what else would be useful to balance encounters?
    more enemies?

    some solutions my work, others would be to bland, other would be TPK

    It depends on the situation and what I was trying to do with the NPC. I don't think there is a hard and fast answer to this.

    If I wanted a cleric who had full armor and not be significantly more dangerous otherwise I would likely just add a level of fighter or warrior class to him giving him the Heavy Armor Proficiency, a save boost, and a little better BAB. This is just off the top of my head because I would likely do something different depending on the actual effect I was trying to achieve.

    ok another example, now as player

    i like to play clerics... i usually not use anything heavier than breast plate... and i amhappy with my bab (until i get to divine power...) why should i need to multiclass to be able to pull the roll i always have?

    Simple. Because the way you always have left you being too good at everything and was, relatively speaking, unfair to other character classes. You got to be nearly as good of a caster as the wizard and nearly as good of a fighter as the fighter.

    In order to allow other character classes to come out of your shadow and claim their own niches, you need to be pulled back a bit from such a dominant position and allow them to shine on their own merits without being better at their specialty than they are.

    If you want to be a better fighter, then you need to multiclass into fighter. The question is not why SHOULD you have to do that; the question is why SHOULDN'T you? You should ALWAYS have had to take some fighter levels if you wanted to be a better fighter.

    That would be my explanation anyway.


    Montalve wrote:

    ok another example, now as player

    i like to play clerics... i usually not use anything heavier than breast plate... and i amhappy with my bab (until i get to divine power...) why should i need to multiclass to be able to pull the roll i always have?

    Perhaps you should read up on the concept of "a sense of entitlement".

    If a class is broken it should be fixed. While I respect that people who played a class previously might be frustrated that their class is less powerful than previous I think it's more important for the game that the classes all be roughly equivalent in power.

    As it is now the cleric class is nearly equivalent to the wizard in spellcasting (on par in many respects), gets domain powers which are equivalent to wizard school powers, gets the awesome channel energy power for healing the party... PLUS the cleric is a pretty decent martial character with 3/4 BAB (full with a few spells) and full armor.

    The question is to balance things out between the classes... should the wizard get full armor now? Considering the wizard and the cleric are still leaps and bounds above the martial classes in total power I don't think ADDing to the existing powerful classes is the right way to go.

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