30 Priests

Forsooth! A fair flock of faithful friars, from fanciful to factual.


The Evangelist
Conversion is this priest's game. He goes from town to town, land to land, spreading word of his god.

The Pardoner
A corrupt priest, he grants clients assurance to heaven for a price. He is hated by all but the hyper-superstitious, who see him as a savior.

The Preacher
This priest is known for his rousing sermons that impassion everyone, from peasant to prince. He is well-loved by all, though an ineffective administrator.

The Ascetic
A strict life of fasting and mortifications for this priest. He lives alone in the wilderness, though he occasionally grants pilgrims some mystical knowledge. He greatly distrusts society and civilization, seeing the monastic life as a truer vocation.

The Abbot
The leader of the local monastery, he is an excellent administrator and runs a tight ship. Some of the monks grumble that he is a taskmaster, but he more than gets the job done. He does not tolerate sloth or disrespect.

The What-a-Waste
He is dedicated to a life of celibacy, much to the disappointment of the local maidens. Young and handsome, he grants a few girls friendly flirtation, but he uses this as a lead-in to his gospels.

The Fresh
Fresh from the seminary, this young priest is naive about the ways of the world. He expects all his parishioners to be saints, and his superiors to be understanding leaders. He tries to keep up spirits, but is quickly exhausted by the real world.

The Theologian
A philosopher as well as a priest, he focuses on the reasoned science of the gods. He can be somewhat aloof and his sermons are over the heads of most.

The Reformer
This priest sees that the times are a-changing, and he thinks the church should too. He is quick to champion the latest trends as revelations for liturgy, and dismisses any tradition older than 50 years. He may have once been a revolutionary, but now his cries for change are stale and fall on bored, deaf ears.

The Antiquarian
Obsessed with tradition, this priest follows all the old ways just because they're old. The Theologian points out that many of his 'traditions' are theologically unsound or even not that old, but the Antiquarian bites back that he is a heathen modernist. He demands a revival of the ancient faith, but he has done it so long and so blindly that he sounds as empty as the Reformer.

The Dogmatist
A strict interpreter of scripture, this priest decries most things outside of the temple as sins, and some things inside. He publicly forsakes all the sinners he sees, and is often taunted by youths who engage him in shouting matches. He is quite easily offended, but somewhat considerate of those who admit he is right on some level.

The Reliquist
This priest has an obsession with the relics of saints. He trades various items of veneration, many of which are fakes (though his faith causes him to ignore this fact). He has extensive knowledge of saints and history.

The Monk
With his simple habit and marks of poverty, this priest is the archetype of monasticism. He works, prays, and does little else. He is not judgemental of the world as the Ascetic is, but prays for justice and peace throughout.

The Martinet
This priest has never actually served in any military position, though you couldn't tell by looking at him. He runs a tight parish, and expects the congregation to be strictly disciplined in liturgies. When he tells young people to strongly consider the religious life, he's not merely making suggestions.

The Mediator
When conflict arises, this priest is on the spot to make peace. He is persuasive and perceptive, able to interpret subtle body language when negotiating harmony. Many couples also seek him out as a marriage counselor.

The Troublemaker
This priest is well-known for his public condemnation of the king's corruption. He is an advocate for the people, much to the chagrin of the nobility. The king has made note of this troublesome priest, and some say he is one sermon away from becoming a martyr.

The Puppet
The opposite of the Troublemaker, this priest is the mouthpiece of the nobility. He decries peasant revolt as heretical and emphasizes the loving and godly nature of the king. He is paid handsomely by the royal court, though he hides it to not appear so much a marionette.

The Joyful
Praise be the gods! This priest is filled with the zeal and happiness that faith brings, and he expresses it to all the congregation. His jubilant rantings can wear thin, but they are welcomed in hard times.

The Somber
In contrast to the Joyful, this priest is focused on the depravity of the world and the ever-looming fear of apocalypse. He is so depressed he rarely bothers evangelizing sinners, seeing them as hopeless anyway, or preaching to the congregation, which mostly knows the faith anyway. He spends his days sighing out prayers half-heartedly.

The Drunkard
Found more often in the tavern than the chapel, this priest is cursed by a dark event that happened decades ago; his only solace seems to be found at the bottom of an ale bottle. He is kindly and will give you the shirt off his back, but he leads a sad life and is an unreliable pastor. His congregation feels pity for him, though the bishop is thinking of sacking him for his inability to run his post.

The Presbyter
To him, divine authority is more important than anything else. He is a close follower of the archbishop and chastises any that disagree with him. He keeps his temple closely tied to the letter of the law, making a good administrator when he is not tied up in red tape.

The Paladin
A veteran priest of the crusades, he has returned to his hometown to settle down and start a church. He regales everyone with his war stories and tales of divine intervention, and his congregation follow him like a loyal army. He is amiable, but has a mean streak when parishioners step out of line.

The Ecumenist
This priest wonders why can't we all just get along. Though his faith conflicts with several others, he embraces them as brothers and encourages his congregation to do the same. His theology tends to be lousy and he sometimes fails to get much accomplished, bogged down with the spirit of unity.

The Merciful
He has turned his luxurious rectory into a home for the down and out. This priest tends to the sick and poor, offering words of hope to anyone who will listen. Some say he is gullible, as he lets well-known thieves sleep in his quarters, but others say it is a sign of trust no one else would afford such folk.

The Betrayer
He is a respected priest by day, but at night he makes heathen sacrifices to a weird god as part of a secret society. No one suspects him of his misdeeds, and he is quite proud of that.

The Heterodox
He was once as respected as the Theologian, but his views gradually changed into something drastically different from the orthodoxy of faith. He leads a small sect who believe his ideas make more sense than the standard religion. This priest has been anathemized by the bishops, but helps to maintain a balance by contrasting traditionalists and far-wing conservative theologians.

The Librarian
Need to know the name of that one priest at St. Chagram's, the details of the Cherubic Order's habit styles, or who wrote the Treatise of Jeyru? This priest has the answers. He maintains an extensive library at his temple and is happy to share his knowledge with those who seek it. His homilies, though, tend to be long-winded and exhaustingly boring.

The Choir Master
This priest loves to sing, from folk ballads to high opera. His specialty is hymns, of course, and his liturgies are often sung rather than spoken.

The Exorcist
Holy water always at the ready, this priest is known throughout the land as the bane of demons. He is a wise demonologist, and can identify possession with ease. He is gruff for a priest, hardened by the minions of hell.

The Alarmist
This priest is extremely skilled at identifying demons and possession... or so he thinks. He tends to see the Enemy in a lot of things, from bad crops to political corruption to the common cold. He is in constant correspondence with the Exorcist, much to the latter's chagrin; the Exorcist tries to educate him in proper demonology, but the Alarmist can't quite get over his anxiety about devils.

? Hall of Honour (2 voters / 2 votes)

Hall of Honour

Cheka Man Dossta

? Responses (11)

Goto Author

5/5 for these wonderful Priests. All hail the godly!

Goto Author

Not bad at all, this one! Especially neat are the connections between some types.

Goto Author

Good work, I like how some of the priest's played off of one another. Good effect Dozus.

Goto Author

I gave a +5 for this just because of it's completeness. These are a wonderful addition to any 30 list and are great for a wuick NPC thrown in to a random encounter. Bravo.

I think manfred needs to create the Random 30 list generator. hmmmm

Goto Author

The Prophecy of Mourngrymn has come true!

[Creating Generators from 30s]

Goto Author

Not much to say, though I might like to see more of the 'good' priests that we all need in our games. After all, clergy can't all be evil and mean, otherwise they'd not be widespread.

Goto Author

I think the trick is to remember that priests are people, too. To make them one dimensional - purely good, or evil, or what have you - is to weaken their character too much.

I post this with full realization that my 30 is essentially a list of one-dimensional characteristics, perhaps two. But I see these as archetypal seeds to plant a full-fledged character with flaws and virtues like anyone else.

I think any of these clergy have the potential to be good or bad. To wit: the Pardoner, though corrupt in his desires, can provide hope to the hopeless by appealing to the benefits of the afterlife. Maybe he even cuts his prices to peasants who have seen particularly bad times. Conversely, the Merciful might blindly protect some trickster criminal or worse, inadvertently providing his church's sanctuary to a villain and making capture by the PCs all the more difficult.

Goto Author

I'm impressed that you managed to work this one through without repetition! And I agree with your comment earlier. Priests are people. You potentially have 60 different archetypes here to work with, depending on how you spin each one (good intentions vs bad intentions). The Puppet could just as easily be doing his very best to prevent a civil war that would result in the deaths of many of his congregation.

Goto Author

Considering the current quest, have a HoH. We need to bring this one back to the light for a bit!

Goto Author

Another great 30. Lots of useful NPCs here.

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