Playing a True Neutral Death Priest in 2nd Ed AD&D

There is something fascinating about playing an evil character in a table top RPG. The power and the thrill of an ill deed make for a really entertaining time. However being Evil can also be really hard. Few NPCs want to interact with you... And then of course there is the whole being wanted by the law thing. So evil characters often end up as recluses, unless they are able to hide their true nature.

This is exactly what Adam wanted to avoid. He wanted to see if he could play his Death Priest: Enoch Fellstone, as a neutral character rather than a evil one.  Of course since this is 2nd edition... There is a rule for that.

Ah yes, The Complete Priest's Handbook
The Complete Priest's Handbook, gives you about a dozen sample priesthoods that your players can be a member of. These samples aren't Kits, but rather specific ways of playing a cleric or Priest's beliefs. On page 53 of the book, it covers rules on being a Death priest. The Most important note here is that The God of Death (whoever it may be) is true Neutral. Though their followers may be of any alignment, Death itself is neither good nor evil. So Enoch Fellstone, has the same alignment as his god, making sure to neither be to good (not that that is too much a problem with this class) and more importantly, no be tempted by evil.

So most of his sacrifices are the animals he has trapped (he is a trapper after all), snd he would need a very good reason to sacrifice a sentient being without slipping into an evil alignment. It certainly is not impossible. But it is definitely a more difficult route to go then being straight out evil. Being evil comes a little more naturally to a Death priest I think, and being Neutral requires you to hide your beliefs around good parties that will likely have no qualms about working with you. It also means that you are generally going against the societal norm that death is a bad thing, without removing yourself form the obligations of the society as an evil character would likely do. So it is going to be a bit of a tight rope walk for Enoch and as the Dungeon master I will need to vigilant to make sure he doesn't slip too far into darkness without an appropriate alignment change.

The role of a death priest isn't exactly what you would expect. My first impression is that you would be some sort of a necromancer like figure, but that isn't exactly true. While yes Death Priests are the only type of priest that can both Turn and Rebuke the Undead, giving them a necromancer-like quality, their true beliefs lie in defending death as a neutral concept: the natural conclusion of a life. This does not mean that they are opposed to healers, or any similar sort of thing, but rather against anyone unnaturally (through magic) extending their life span. So a wizard who uses spells to live past their race's natural life expectancy would be an enemy of a death priest. Anyone practising resurrection spells or reincarnation spells would also be targets of a Death Priest. To them, death is as sacred as life, and not to be disturbed.

A dark class to be, but we will see how well Adam plays in upcoming games of JADE's Arachnophobia Campaign.

Written by: Andrew Gregory

Playing a True Neutral Death Priest in 2nd Ed AD&D Playing a True Neutral Death Priest in 2nd Ed AD&D Reviewed by JADE Gaming on 8/18/2016 08:26:00 am Rating: 5

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