One of the most influential games from my childhood was the original Final Fantasy. Before I was a reader, I was a Nintendo kid, and the original Final Fantasy was my introduction to fantasy in general. Eventually, after reading Lord of the Rings, I found my way to Dungeons and Dragons. But Final Fantasy has always been my first love.
Since November is Video Game month, it only seemed fitting to borrow the idea of the White Mage from Final Fantasy, influenced quite a bit by the Dragon Age series, although you can probably argue the class is more of a Red Mage. At first, a character who can fling both Fireballs and Cure Wounds spells might seem over powered, but spells are a limited resource, especially in the new edition of D&D, so it’s not as disruptive as you might think. Further down, I talk a bit about World Building and creating a campaign setting where Clerics do not exist. You can use the School of the White Wizard as the only healing specialization for your setting, unless of course you want to use Trevor’s Healadin article.
School of the White Wizard
When using this school, the spells below are added into the Wizard Spell list, if not already present. They also represent the Path of Spirit for your wizards Spirit Savant ability (more on that below).
Path of Spirit
Spare the Dying
Prayer of Healing
Mass Healing Word
Beginning when you select the School of the White Wizard at 2nd level, the gold and time you must spend to copy a Path of Spirit spell into your spell book is halved.
Disciple of Spirit
Starting at 2nd level when you choose this school, your healing spells are more effective. Whenever you use a spell of 1st level or higher to restore hit points to a creature, the creature regains additional hit points equal to your Intelligence modifier.
Starting at 6th level, whenever the you cast a spell in the School of Spirit, you immediately heal 1d8 hit points. Furthermore, you may spend your Hit Dice to heal other creatures during a short rest. These hit dice are regained as normal.
Starting at 10th level, when you cast a spell that forces a creature to make a saving throw, choose a number of creatures equal to your Intelligence modifier (minimum of 1) to automatically succeed on the save. If the spell would deal damage on a successful save, the creature regains that amount of hit points instead. The damage type of the spell changes to Radiant Damage. After you use this feature, you cannot use this feature again until you complete a short or long rest.
Starting at 14th level, you may use a bonus action to stabilize a creature within 120 feet of you. Furthermore, any time you cast a spell that heals a creature, or that does radiant damage, you cast the spell as if you used a spell slot two slots higher.
World Building Without Clerics
Clerics come with several tropes that they bake into standard D&D settings. Their existence not only means that gods undeniably exist, but there are a lot of them, at least one for each domain. That means that no matter how you construct your world, the religious system has to involve polytheism with very specific and clearly defined deities and their requisite methods of worship. There is no mystery to religion and it would make no sense to anyone to be atheist or agnostic. So removing Clerics from your setting gives you the option to disassociate religion from magic. While practitioners of spells might believe they come from gods, you can let that thread remain belief instead of fact.
That gives you options and opens your world to building something like Thedas, the setting of Dragon Age. Instead of a pantheon of interconnected gods, they have a small number of major religions which span all classes, races, and even nations. The role of religion in that setting is try to describe and explain the natural order of the world. However, the reality of a given situation might be different from religious doctrine, which gave rise to one of the more interesting plot threads from Dragon Age: Inquisition, which is: Are the gods real? You can make your world slightly more “realistic” by adding conflict between the major religions, and that conflict driving much of history, like the Qin and the Tevinter Imperium.
Just because Clerics are gone doesn’t mean that the other classes traditionally associated with “Divine Magic” have to go. Some minor changes to their fluff can make them rich with new roleplaying and adventure possibilities.
Paladin – Instead of Paladins being part of a religious order, you can refocus them around Knightly Orders. Perhaps the spells they cast are a secret magic method that is only known to the organization, with the source of that magic only known by those in the upper echelon. It opens up your world to fun stories involving myths and conspiracies, mirroring the real world myths and conspiracies surrounding the Knights Templar.
Druid – Druids can become more like nature Wizards. Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Mists of Avalon books come to mind as a source of inspiration. They could be the followers of old gods that pulls magic from nature, versus Wizards that use modern “scientific” magic.
World Building is one of those fun thought experiments, even if it doesn’t go anywhere. Dragon Age really inspired me quite a bit because it went into topics that most fantasy games skip, which is what inspired the second half of the article. I’m really looking forward to the next D&D game that I’ll get to play in. My Gnome will be rocking a white robe with red trim. I can’t wait to cast a radiant Chain Lighting that heals my friends and zaps my enemies, while quoting Gandalf. It sounds like a ton of fun!
UPDATE – We published a short article as a follow up Do You Want to Know More?
UPDATE 2 – We have replaced the original art of the article, with an awesome piece by friend of the site Cassie. Check out her Deviant Art page!