Chaplain, Variant (3.5e Class)

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There are men in the world who dedicate their lives to combat, dealing punishing blows to their enemy by sheer force of their strength or speed. Others devote themselves to magic, calling down supernatural energy and spells to wreak havoc on their foes. Fewer still devote their lives to planting a foot in each world, combining the brute strength of their blade with the devastating power of their magic. And then there is the Chaplain. The fist of the gods, a man who chooses this way is blessed by his deity to do his or her will, anywhere it needs doing. He is a battlemage, a healer, a rally point, a frontline soldier; it makes no difference so long as his god wills it. Enemies of the chaplains’ deity do well to stay away, for he is coming.

Making a Chaplain[edit]

As a mashup of several classes, the point of the Chaplain is to open up possibilities in each, without the specific added benefits. One may use the Chaplain as a spellsword, simply augmenting his blade. Others may choose to lean more heavily to the spell side.

Abilities: Wisdom is important for casting, as its ability modifier grants extra spells. Constitution is helpful for Concentration checks, and Strength or Dexterity make a difference, depending on the chaplain’s preferred fighting style

Races: The chaplain isn't restricted to any particular race, but each race may have preferred gods that the chaplain appeals to.

Alignment: Like Cleric.

Starting Gold: As a Cleric.

Starting Age: Complex.

Table: The Chaplain

Hit Die: d6

Level Base
Attack Bonus
Saving Throws Special Spells per Day
Fort Ref Will 0 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th
1st +0 +0 +0 +2 Astral Familiar 4+1 2+1
2nd +1 +0 +0 +3 5+1 3+1
3rd +2 +1 +1 +4 Blessed Armor Rank 1 5+1 4+1
4th +3 +1 +1 +4 Familiar Upgrade 5+1 5+1 2+1
5th +3 +1 +1 +4 Bonus Feat 5+1 5+1 3+1 1+1
6th +4 +2 +2 +5 Blessed Armor Rank 2 5+1 5+1 4+1 2+1
7th +5 +2 +2 +5 5+1 5+1 5+1 3+1
8th +6/+1 +2 +2 +6 Familiar Upgrade 5+1 5+1 5+1 4+1 2+1
9th +6/+1 +3 +3 +6 Blessed Armor Rank 3 5+1 5+1 5+1 5+1 3+1
10th +7/+2 +3 +3 +7 5+1 5+1 5+1 5+1 4+1 2+1
11th +8/+3 +3 +3 +7 5+1 5+1 5+1 5+1 5+1 3+1
12th +9/+4 +4 +4 +9 Familiar Upgrade, Blessed Armor Rank 4 5+1 5+1 5+1 5+1 5+1 4+1 2+1
13th +9/+4 +4 +4 +8 5+1 5+1 5+1 5+1 5+1 5+1 3+1
14th +10/+5 +4 +4 +9 5+1 5+1 5+1 5+1 5+1 5+1 4+1 2+1
15th +11/+6/+1 +5 +5 +9 Blessed Armor Rank 5 6+1 5+1 5+1 5+1 5+1 5+1 5+1 3+1

16th +12/+7/+2 +5 +5 +10 Familiar Upgrade 6+1 5+1 5+1 5+1 5+1 5+1 5+1 4+1 2+1
17th +12/+7/+2 +5 +5 +10 6+1 5+1 5+1 5+1 5+1 5+1 5+1 5+1 3+1
18th +13/+8/+3 +6 +6 +11 Blessed Armor Rank 6 6+1 5+1 5+1 5+1 5+1 5+1 5+1 5+1 4+1 2+1
19th +14/+9/+4 +6 +6 +11 6+1 5+1 5+1 5+1 5+1 5+1 5+1 5+1 5+1 3+1
20th +15/+10/+5 +6 +6 +12 Epic Familiar 6+1 5+1 5+1 5+1 5+1 5+1 5+1 5+1 5+1 5+1

  • The "+1" after each of the spell numbers denotes a Domain spell. For example, a Level 0 score of 5+1 means that a Chaplain may cast 5 standard spells and their single chosen Level 0 Domain spell.

Class Skills (2 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
The Chaplain’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Concentration (Con), Handle Animal (Cha), Knowledge (Religion) (Int), Profession (Wis), and Knowledge (Nobility) (Int).

Class Features[edit]

All of the following are class features of the Chaplain

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Chaplains are proficient with all simple weapons and any one martial weapon of the character's choice. They may also get Weapon Focus as a free feat with the preferred weapon of their deity if the deity gives them the War Domain. Chaplains are proficient with any class armor (Light, medium, or heavy), but not with shields. A Chaplain can cast spells derived from his class levels of Chaplain while in any armor without the normal arcane spell failure chance.

Blessed Armor: At 3rd level and every three levels thereafter, the Chaplain’s god deems him a worthy follower and blesses him with an armor bonus. He receives a +1 Natural Armor bonus each time he achieves an interval of 3 chaplain levels. At maximum Blessed Armor ranks, or 6 ranks at level 18, he receives +2 instead of +1. Thus, at level 18 a chaplain has +7 natural armor.

For example, Olegarch is now level 6. He has rank 2 Blessed Armor, so his natural armor is +2. The effect is not stacking, whatever rank the chaplain is at is what his Natural Armor boost is, save the exception at Rank 6 armor.

Bonus Feats: Starting at 2nd chaplain level and every 3 levels afterward, a chaplain gains a bonus feat. He is not restricted to any particular feat, but still needs to meet the minimum requirements for the feat to acquire it- such as attack bonus or prerequisite feats.

Astral Familiar: At level 1, the Chaplain chooses a familiar. This can be based on the Chaplain’s chosen deity or otherwise. The familiar gets Link and Share Spells, as well as the caster being able to cast personal spells on his familiar. At a certain point, the familiar gets upgraded and at level 20 becomes an Epic Familiar. Familiars are treated as if the chaplain were a half-level Sorcerer (PHB page 52). The beginning stats for each familiar are listed in the Monster Manual.

Familiar Upgrade: Starting at the 4th chaplain level and every four levels afterward, the chaplain’s familiar gets upgraded with +2 HD, a natural armor buff of 2, and its Strength and Dexterity scores are increased until the score reaches the least that it can with the modifier bonus increasing by 1.

For example, Olegarch’s badger currently has 14 Strength and 18 Dexterity, with a +2 and a +4 modifier, respectively. When Olegarch reaches level four, his badger’s Strength goes up to 16 and his Dexterity up to 20, netting a modifier of +3 and +5, respectively. 16 and 20 are the smallest ability scores above his current that achieve the additional modifier point.

The familiars are as follows:

Familiar Special
Astral Wolf Mater gets a +3 on Listen Checks
Astral Cat Master gets a +3 on Move Silently Checks
Astral Hawk Master gets a +3 on Spot checks in bright light
Astral Badger Master gets a +3 on Survival Checks
Astral Lizard Master gets a +3 on Climb Checks
Astral Owl Master gets a +3 on Spot Checks in shadows
Astral Rat Master gets a +2 on Fortitude Saves
Astral Raven Master gets a +3 on Appraise checks
Astral Snake Master gets a +3 on Bluff Checks
Astral Toad Master gets +3 hit points
Astral Weasel Master gets a +2 on Reflex Saves
Astral Dog Master gets a +2 on Will Saves
Astral Shark* Master gets a +3 on Swim Checks
Astral Alligator* Master gets a +3 on Grapple Checks made underwater
Astral Squid* Master gets a +3 on Hide Checks made underwater
Astral Porpoise* Master gets Wild Empathy with underwater creatures
  • *If the DM chooses to have the campaign in a mostly or totally underwater campaign, the chaplain may choose one of these alternative familiars

Spells: A Chaplain casts divine spells that are drawn from the cleric spell list (PHB page 183). If the Chaplain chooses an alignment, he may also be restricted by that alignment. To prepare or cast a spell, a chaplain must have a Wisdom score equal to at least 10 + the spell level (Wis 10 for 0-level spells, Wis 11 for 1st-level spells, and so forth). The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a Chaplain’s spell is 10 + the spell level + the Chaplain’s Wisdom modifier. Like other spellcasters, a chaplain can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. His base daily spell allotment is given on the above table. In addition, he receives bonus spells per day if he has a high Wisdom score (see Table 1–1: Ability Modifiers and Bonus Spells, PHB 8). A Chaplain also gets one domain spell of each spell level he can cast, starting at 1st level. When a Chaplain prepares a spell in a domain spell slot, it must come from one of his two domains (see Deities, Domains, and Domain Spells, below). Additionally, Chaplains do not acquire their spells from books or scrolls, nor do they prepare them through study. Instead, they meditate or pray for their spells, receiving them through their own strength of faith or as divine inspiration. Each chaplain must choose a time at which he must spend 1 hour each day in quiet contemplation or supplication to regain his daily allotment of spells. Typically, this hour is at dawn or noon for good clerics and at dusk or midnight for evil ones. Time spent resting has no effect on whether a chaplain can prepare spells. A chaplain may prepare and cast any spell on the chaplain spell list (PHB page 183), provided that he can cast spells of that level and they fall into his chosen schools (see School Restrictions below), but he must choose which spells to prepare during his daily meditation.

School Restrictions: A Chaplain must choose three of the six schools of magic (Conjuration, Divination, Necromancy, Evocation, Transmutation, and Abjuration) from which to obtain his spells. The choices that the Chaplain makes may be influenced by his deity and alignment. This decision is permanent and is effective at all spell levels. For example, Olegarch chooses Conjuration, Transmutation, and Evocation as his spell schools. These may also be affected by one’s chosen Deity and/or alignment. Thus, he may cast Mending, as it is a Transmutation spell; but not Inflict Minor Wounds, a Necromancy spell.

Deities, Domains, and Domain Spells: Chaplains may choose a deity, even if he does not, he may be restricted by a chosen alignment. A chaplain may choose any deity and gain their bonuses, regardless of the god’s usual worshipers. When an alignment and a deity have been chosen, choose two domains from those given on the Domains list (PHB page 185). If the player doesn’t have a deity, they still choose domains based on their spiritual inclinations and abilities. The restriction on alignment domains still applies. Each domain gives your chaplain access to a domain spell at each spell level he can cast, from 1st on up, as well as a granted power. Your chaplain gets the granted powers of both the domains selected. With access to two domain spells at a given spell level, a chaplain prepares one or the other each day in his domain spell slot. If a domain spell is not on the chaplain spell list (PHB page 183), a chaplain can prepare it only in his domain spell slot. Domain spells and granted powers are given in Cleric Domains, PHB pages 185–189.

For example, Olegarch is a 1st level chaplain of Flidais. Thus, he acquires War and Protection as his domains. He gets the granted powers of both- The War domain gives him Weapon Focus with his greatsword, Flidais’ preferred weapon; and the Protection domain gives him the ability to summon a protective ward as a supernatural ability. The 1st level Protection domain spell is Sanctuary and the 1st level War domain spell is Magic Weapon. Olegarch must choose either Sanctuary OR Magic Weapon as his 1st level domain spell. He may switch each day, but he only gets one.

Spontaneous Casting: A good Chaplain (or a neutral Chaplain of a good deity) can channel stored spell energy into healing spells that the Chaplain did not prepare ahead of time. The Chaplain can “lose” any prepared spell that is not a domain spell in order to cast any cure spell of the same spell level or lower (a cure spell is any spell with “cure” in its name). For example, a good Chaplain who has prepared command (a 1st-level spell) may lose command in order to cast cure light wounds (also a 1st-level spell). Chaplains of good deities can cast cure spells in this way because they are especially proficient at wielding positive energy. An evil Chaplain (or a neutral Chaplain of an evil deity), on the other hand, can’t convert prepared spells to cure spells but can convert them to inflict spells (an inflict spell is one with “inflict” in its name). A Chaplain who is neither good nor evil and whose deity is neither good nor evil can convert spells to either cure spells or inflict spells (player’s choice), depending on whether the Chaplain is more proficient at wielding positive or negative energy. Once the player makes this choice, it cannot be reversed. Exceptions: All lawful neutral Chaplains of Wee Jas (goddess of death and magic) convert prepared spells to inflict spells, not cure spells. All Chaplains of St. Cuthbert (god of retribution) and all nonevil Chaplains of Obad-Hai (god of nature) convert prepared spells to cure spells, not inflict spells.

Chaotic, Evil, Good, and Lawful Spells: A Chaplain can’t cast spells of an alignment opposed to his own or his deity’s (if he has one). For example, a good Chaplain (or a neutral Chaplain of a good deity) cannot cast evil spells. Spells associated with particular alignments are indicated by the chaos, evil, good, and law descriptors in their spell descriptions (see Chapter 11: Spells).

Bonus Feats: Starting at 2nd chaplain level and every 3 levels afterward, a chaplain gains a bonus feat. He is not restricted to any particular feat, but still needs to meet the minimum requirements for the feat to acquire it- such as attack bonus or prerequisite feats.

Chaplains choose their spells from the list on the Players Hand Book page 183

Table: Chaplain Spells Known
Level Spells Known
0 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th
1st 3
2nd 4 1
3rd 5 2
4th 5 2
5th 5 2
6th 5 3
7th 5 3
8th 5 3
9th 5 3
10th 5 3
11th 5 3
12th 5 4
13th 5 4
14th 5 4
15th 5 4
16th 5 4
17th 5 5
18th 6 5
19th 6 6
20th 6 6


A chaplain who grossly violates the code of conduct required by his god (generally by acting in ways opposed to the god’s alignment or purposes) loses all spells and class features, except for armor and proficiency with simple weapons. He cannot thereafter gain levels as a chaplain of that god until he atones (see the atonement spell description, PHB page 201).

Epic Chaplain[edit]

Table: The Epic Chaplain

Hit Die: d6

Level Special
21st -
22nd -
23rd Bonus Feat
24th Epic Familiar Upgrade
25th Blessed Armor Rank 7
26th Bonus Feat
27th -
28th Epic Familiar Upgrade
29th Bonus Feat
30th Blessed Armor Rank 8

2 + Int modifier skill points per level.

Bonus Feats: After 21st level, the Chaplain continues to receive bonus feats every 3 levels. His first bonus feat in the Epic class will occur at level 23

Blessed Armor: Once the Chaplain becomes Epic, they continue receiving the Blessed Armor buff, albeit at a slower rate. They get +1 Natural Armor ever five levels, starting at level 25. Thus, at level 25 an Epic Chaplain would have +8 Natural Armor, stacking from previous ranks in Blessed Armor.

Epic Astral Familiar: Every four chaplain levels after 20th, the currently Epic Astral Familiar continues upgrading with the usual upgrade.

Spells: The Epic Chaplain does not gain more spells than if he were at level 20, unless he takes Spell Knowledge as a feat

Human Chaplain Starting Package[edit]

Weapons: Greatsword (2d6, crit 19-20/x2, 8 Ib., slashing)

Light Crossbow (1d8, crit 19-20/x2, range inc. 80 ft, 4 Ib., piercing)

Armor: Scale Mail (+4 AC, armor check penalty -4, speed 20 ft, 30 Ib.)

Deity/Domains: Flidais/ War and Protection

Astral Familiar: Badger (See Monster Manual and the "Astral Familiar" section for details

Skill Selection: Pick a number of skills equal to 2 + Int modifier.

Skill Ranks Ability Armor
Concentration 4 Con
Handle Animal 4 Cha
Knowledge (Religion) 4 Int
Profession 4 Wis
Knowledge (Nobility) 4 Int

Feat: Weapon Focus (Greatsword), a bonus from his deity: Flidais

Bonus Feats: At 1st level, if the Chaplain's Strength is higher, he gets Improved Sunder as a free feat, whether or not he meets the prerequisites for it. If his Wisdom is higher, he gets Eschew Materials

Gear: Backpack with waterskin, one day’s trail rations, bedroll, sack, flint and steel, case with 15 crossbow bolts, a religious cape (embroidered with Flidais’ symbol), three torches.

Gold: 23

Campaign Information[edit]

Playing a Chaplain[edit]

Religion: Any and all gods can have a chaplain, provided that the subject is willing. The deity chosen, however, will influence the alignment, and thus domains and spells of the chaplain.

Other Classes: Depending on the alignment and chosen gods of the others in his party, the chaplain may get along fabulously or wretchedly with his party.

Combat: A chaplain has many uses due to his versatility. He can stand as a rally point, buffing all those around him; charge in headfirst and do as much damage as he can in the shortest period of time; he can be a defensive crux and heal his teammates; if there's a niche in a party, the chaplain can fill it.

Advancement: It's wise to stay the course as a chaplain. One may desire to take bard levels for bardic spells or a rogue level to acquire some skills, but a chaplain is well rewarded for staying the cause.

Chaplains in the World[edit]

There can only be ONE highlander!!!
—Olegarch, Human Chaplain

As a pawn of their deity, a chaplain is given decent reign to serve as he needs to achieve the deity’s goals. As such, they are motivated by their deity’s alignment, unless they can convince their deity that they need to do so otherwise. Some chaplains roam the countryside as something of a wandering priest who spreads the news of their deity. Others may choose to perform their duties as something of a septon, living in a castle under a lordship that worships his god. Others still find their call to combat, and their deity’s will is an iron fist that takes little pleasure in aught else but crushing his or her enemies.

Daily Life: Olegarch, as an upright man, wakes early in the day to do his hour long meditation to get his spells. As he does so, his god Flidais tugs at him to go due east. He does so, and chances upon a band of travelers being assaulted by bandits. Shouting his battle cry, he charges in with his trusty badger.

Organizations: Chaplains and Clerics may congregate depending on the festivals, appointed religious meetings, and other functions if they have similar gods. Otherwise, ones of opposite allegiances may meet solely for combat.

NPC Reactions: NPC's react well to chaplains of their alignment, as they are devout holy figures. Otherwise, they may flee in fear or become openly hostile

Chaplain Lore[edit]

Characters with ranks in Chaplain can research chaplains to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.

Knowledge of the Legends
DC Result
5 There are chaplains in the world.
10 Most holidays and congregations of deities similar to his own.
15 All holidays, congregations, and locations of all deities in the extended area.
20 The location of an astral shift point to the plane of the chaplain's chosen deity

Chaplains in the Game[edit]

Adaptation: This class heavily borrowed from the Battlemage class on this wiki. Instead of using Arcane, this class used a Cleric spell setup. One could conceivably tweak it back to using an Arcane system. Also, the Battlemage's pet was treated as a half-level Druid Animal Companion, instead of the listed Sorcerer level.

Sample Encounter: A DM could place a chaplain NPC on the road, in a church, showing up grandly on the battlefield, or passing through a city. His alignment versus the player's alignment/deity would determine how the encounter would go.

EL: Depends on the level of Chaplain.

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