My wife is playing a Priestess of Persephone – mostly because that was her bloodline role and she likes playing Raven Queen style philosophy – shepherding the dead to their afterlife and combating undead with religious zeal. Since I play a very OSR version of 5e I tend to create custom classes level 1 to 10 – where I cap leveling. I originally used the Dungeon Crawl Classic spell, spell system, and disapproval tables in my 5e game. However, my wife felt her cleric was very underpowered with these spells and didn’t feel she was contributing to the party very well. And though she likes the idea of the DCC spell tables it does slow the game down. Here is a more streamlined version of the class which uses 5e spells but still has some DCC flavor.
CLERIC OF PERSEPHONE
Persephone is a Goddess of the Graves, as opposed to death like her husband, Hades. Gods of the grave watch over the line between life and death. To these deities, death and the afterlife are a foundational part of the multiverse. To desecrate the peace of the dead is an abomination. Their magic also allows them to stave off death for a time, particularly for a person who still has some great work to accomplish in the world. This is a delay of death, not a denial of it, for death will eventually get its due.
Clerics of Persphone are the warrior-priests/ess of the faith – while the Ecclesiarchy preach the evils of necromancy, undead, and abnormal life extension through magic – the clerics – as the militant arm of the faith, deal with the problem directly – putting down necromancers, undead outbreaks and judging those who have broken the natural cycle of life and death.
|CLERIC OF PERSEPHONE CLASS TABLE|
|Spells Known by Level|
|1st||–||+2||Channel Divinity, Circle of Immortality||Novice||1d8 + CON||2||–||–||–||–||–|
|2nd||300||+2||Divine Spellcasting||Constantia||2d8 + CON||3||5||–||–||–||–|
|3rd||900||+2||Eyes of the Grave||Cantus||3d8 + CON||3||5||3||–||–||–|
|4th||2,700||+2||Ability Score Improvement (+2)||Novitiate||4d8 + CON||4||6||4||–||–||–|
|5th||6,500||+3||Destroy Undead||(Battle) Brother/Sister||5d8 + CON||4||6||5||2||–||–|
|6th||14,000||+3||Path to the Grave||Father/Sister Superior||6d8 + CON||4||7||5||3||–||–|
|7th||23,000||+3||Sentinel at Death’s Door||Legatine||7d8 + CON||4||7||6||4||1||–|
|8th||34,000||+3||Ability Score Improvement (+2)||Palatine||8d8 + CON||4||8||6||5||2||–|
|9th||48,000||+4||Keeper of Souls||Canon/Cannoness||9d8 + CON||4||8||7||5||3||1|
|10th||64,000||+4||Divine Intervention||Prior/Canoness||10d8 + CON||5||9||7||6||4||2|
|10th +||64,000||–||Varies*||Abbot/Abbess Sanctorum||–||–||–||–||–||–||–|
|* You may spend 64,000 XP to gain a level 11 to 20 class feature not already granted. See description for details.|
** XP resets at each level to 0.
As a priest or priestess of Persephone, you gain the following class features.
- Hit Dice: 1d8 per cleric level
- Hit Points at 1st Level: 1d8 + your Constitution modifier
- Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d8 + your Constitution modifier per cleric level after 1st
Proficiencies & Special
- Armor: Light, medium, and heavy armor, shields
- Weapons: Simple weapons
- Weapon of Choice: Sickle. You may add your proficiency bonus when wielding a sickle and it is treated as a finesse weapon for you.
- Tools: None
- Saving Throws: Wisdom, Charisma
- Skills: Choose two from History, Insight, Medicine, Persuasion, and Religion
- Alignment Restriction: Lawful Good or Neutral.
You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:
- (a) a mace or (b) a sickle
- (a) leather armor
- (a) a light crossbow and 20 bolts or (b) any simple weapon
- (a) a priest’s pack or (b) an explorer’s pack
- The favored animal is the raven.
- A shield and a holy symbol of Persephone
- an amulet shaped like a torch,
- an amulet shaped like a pomegranate, or
- an amulet stylized depiction of the goddess’s face.
This assumes you are starting at level 1 or higher. Otherwise, you start at level 0 per the Character Funnel rules.
At 1st level, you can use channel divinity a number of times equal to a 1/3 of your level with a minimum of 1 per short or long rest.
- Channel Divinity: Turn Undead. At 1st level, as an action, you present your holy symbol and speak a prayer censuring the undead. Each undead that can see or hear you within 30 feet of you must make a Wisdom saving throw. If the creature fails its saving throw, it is turned for 1 minute or until it takes any damage. A turned creature must spend its turns trying to move as far away from you as it can, and it can’t willingly move to a space within 30 feet of you. It also can’t take reactions. For its action, it can use only the Dash action or try to escape from an effect that prevents it from moving. If there’s nowhere to move, the creature can use the Dodge action.
- Channel Divinity: Path to the Grave. Starting at 3rd level, you can use your Channel Divinity to mark another creature’s life force for termination. As an action, you choose one creature you can see within 30 feet of you, cursing it until the end of your next turn. The next time you or an ally of yours hits the cursed creature with an attack, the creature has vulnerability to all of that attack’s damage, and then the curse ends.
- Channel Divinity: Destroy Undead. Starting at 5th level when an undead fails its saving throw against your Turn Undead feature, the creature is instantly destroyed if its challenge rating is at or below 1/4 your level (rounding up to the nearest CR number applicable). When you reach level 10 you may spend XP to increase this number to 1/3, and then 1/2 your level. Finally, you may upgrade the uses per day to be equal to your WIS modifier.
Circle of Mortality. At 1st level, you gain the ability to manipulate the line between life and death. When you would normally roll one or more dice to restore hit points with a spell to a creature at 0 hit points, the target rolls the healing HD with advantage. For example, you heal a 4th fighter (who uses d10 HD) who shares the same alignment with you for 3 HD (you rolled 15 on the Cure Wounds table). The fighter would roll 6d10 taking the 3 best rolls as healing.
Divine Spellcasting. At 2nd level, you gain access to divine spells, known as miracles, per the table listed. You use the standard 5e cleric spell list with the following changes:
- You have access to the entire spell list for your level but can only prepare the number shown in the Cleric of Persphone Class table. You may change prepared spells at dawn each day (after a long rest). No cleric has access to any raise dead type spells – no revivify, no raise dead, no resurrection, etc. The gods of the 9th world do not grant their followers these spells, and philosophically, they wouldn’t fit with Pespehone anyway.
- You can cast each spell without limit, however, you risk disapproval the more you use your miracles. You roll a spell-check to see if you can manifest the miracle correctly with proper deference to Persephone. The spell works as described unless you roll 1 or 20:
- On a natural 1, you lose the spell for the day. You gain 1 disapproval for each spell you lose. Disapproval only matters if you decide to pay penance and attempt to get your spell back before the next long rest/dawn. See Persephone Disapproval and Sacrifices below for details. When you risk the disapproval of your deity you find that you quickly lose access to the extraordinary benefits of being a cleric.
- On a natural 20, you add d12 to the effects of the spell. This may mean increased healing, increased damage, or increased duration (at the DM’s discretion).
- You add your Wisdom modifier to spell damage.
- All healing spells heal in target HD, not dX. For example, you cast cure wounds at level 1 on a fighter. Instead of healing 1d8 + WIS, it heals for 1d10 (fighter’s HD) plus your WIS modifier. When healing a wizard ally it would be 1d6 + WIS modifier, etc.
- Creatures who are Lawful or worshipers of Persphone or Hades gain a bonus HD of healing.
- Persephone Disapproval & Sacrifices. You may make sacrifices to Persephone in order to regain your lost spell. During a short rest, you spend 50 gp of sacrificed goods for each spell you have lost. Then roll 1d4 for each spell you have lost on Table 5-7: Disapproval table. You regain your spell but you must apply the rolled effect as penance until your next long rest or as specified.
Bonus Persephone Spells. You gain the following spells at the cleric levels listed. These do not count against your daily limit of prepared spells.
|Cantrip||spare the dying#|
|1st||bane, false life, smite*|
|3rd||gentle repose, ray of enfeeblement|
|7th||blight, death ward|
|9th||antilife shell, Negative Plane Protection|
* Smite is identical to searing smite except it does radiant damage and against undead creatures, it does an additional d6 of damage.
# As I use different death rules this cantrip can delay death by 1 round and can only be used once per creature per encounter, otherwise, it is identical to the spell of the same name.
Negative Plane Protection is a new spell with the following description:
Negative Plane Protection
Level: 9 (Abjuration, Ritual)
Duration: 8 hour
Range/Area: One Prime Material Plane creature
Components: V; S, M (100 gp in ritual material)
Casting Time: 10 minutes
Saving Throw: None
This spell enables the caster or any other eligible creature touched to be partially protected from an undead monster that has an existence on the Negative Material Plane (such as a shadow, wight, wraith, spectre, or vampire). The dweomer of the spell opens a channel to the Positive Material Plane, the energy from which helps to offset the effect of the undead creature’s attack. The recipient is allowed a WIS saving throw with a DC equal to the damage dealt if he or she is touched (attacked) by an undead creature. Success indicates that the recipient takes normal hit-point damage from the attack, but does not suffer the drain of experience that would otherwise take place. In addition, the undead creature takes 2d6 hit points of radiant damage from the Positive Plane energy. The magic is only proof against one such attack and dissipates after that attack whether or not the saving throw is successful. If the saving throw is failed, the recipient of the spell takes double the usual physical damage in addition to the loss of experience that normally occurs. The contact between the Positive and Negative Planes that this spell brings about will cause a bright flash of light and a sound like that of a thunderclap, but these phenomena do not cause damage in any event. The spell will cause the cleric to explode (instant and irrevocable death) if he or she dares to cast it while on the Negative Material Plane. The spell will not function at all on other planes of existence besides the Prime Material.
Eyes of the Grave. At 3rd level, you gain the ability to occasionally sense the presence of the undead, whose existence is an insult to the natural cycle of life. As an action, you can open your awareness to magically detect undead. Until the end of your next turn, you know the location of any undead within 60 feet of you that isn’t behind total cover and that isn’t protected from divination magic. This sense doesn’t tell you anything about a creature’s capabilities or identity. You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Wisdom modifier (minimum of once). You regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest. For each additional expenditure of the daily use while concentrating you learn more details:
- As described.
- You know the exact number of undead.
- You know the type of undead.
- You know the relative strength of the undead to you.
- The DM shares something specific about a single type of undead you detect.
Sentinel at Death’s Door. At 7th level, you gain the ability to impede death’s progress. As a reaction when you or a creature you can see within 30 feet of you suffers a critical hit, you can turn that hit into a normal hit. Any effects triggered by a critical hit are canceled. You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Wisdom modifier (minimum of once). You regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.
Keeper of Souls. Starting at 9th level, you can seize a trace of vitality from a parting soul and use it to heal the living. When an enemy you can see dies within 60 feet of you, you or one creature of your choice that is within 60 feet of you regains hit points equal to the enemy’s number of Hit Dice. You can use this feature only if you aren’t incapacitated. Once you use it, you can’t do so again until the start of your next turn.
Divine Intervention. At 10th level, you can call on Persphone to intervene on your behalf when your need is great. Imploring her aid requires you to use your action. Describe the assistance you seek, and roll percentile dice. If you roll a number equal to or lower than your cleric level, your deity intervenes. The DM chooses the nature of the intervention; the effect of any cleric spell or cleric domain spell would be appropriate. If your deity intervenes, you can’t use this feature again for 7 days. Otherwise, you can use it again after you finish a long rest. Once you reach level 10 you may spend XP to increase your chance for assistance by 10%.