Monday, May 17, 2010

Things that Make Me Go Hmmm...

As I've been paying attention to spell descriptions in OD&D lately, I ran across this interesting little tidbit in Men & Magic:

Note: There are Anti-Clerics (listed below) who have similar powers to Clerics.Those Clerical spells underlined on the table for Cleric Spells have a reverse effect, all others functioning as noted.

What is listed below are the level titles for the Anti-Cleric. Compare them to the regular Cleric level titles:

Anti-Clerics:


Evil Acolyte
Evil Adept
Shaman
Evil Priest
Evil Curate
Evil Bishop
Evil Lama
Evil High Priest.

Clerics:


Acolyte
Adept
Village Priest
Vicar
Curate
Bishop
Lama
Patriarch


Note that the only level title that does not get the designation "evil" is the Shaman — an explicitly pagan title. It seems to me that (beyond the already largely Christian level titles and spells) that this is the strongest evidence I have found to suggest that the original conception of the Cleric class was of a pseudo-Christian.

3 comments:

  1. Level titles are just funny. I mean, you can't argue that the cleric is anything but a medieval Bishop Turpin type. But the idea of taking a break from Satanism to study Native American medicine-work, or from Christianity to take an ecumenical sojourn in the Himalayas, is just a little bit mind-boggling. Was the idea to provide a fig leaf as far as the depiction of authentic religion is concerned?

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  2. "Acolyte, Adept, Bishop, Curate, High Priest, Lama, Patriarch, Priest, Shaman, Vicar..."

    This is the strongest evidence I have found to suggest that Gygax was writing with his thesaurus.

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