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Product Spotlight
Rich Redman and James Wyatt
By Jesse Decker

Rich Redman | James Wyatt

Defenders of the Faith: A Guidebook to Clerics and Paladins is now available! Join us as the authors of this newest D&D class guidebook talk about designing the product, how to play a great cleric, and their earliest D&D memories.

Wizards of the Coast: What did each of you contribute to Defenders of the Faith?

James Wyatt: We basically split each section in half, which was kind of a funny way of doing things. I wrote the cleric material in chapter 1, a couple of the churches and organizations in chapter 2, roughly half of the prestige classes in chapter 3, a bunch of the spells in chapter 4, and the stuff about monster deities that ended up as an appendix. The idea of "prestige domains" was mine, and I'm proud of that one.

Rich Redman: I started on the project after James completed his work. It was my first product for the Core D&D Team, and I relied on James' text for examples and style guidelines.

Wizards: What is the best idea that didn't make it into the book?

James: I wrote a bunch more "things to do with positive energy" that just didn't make the final cut. But most of our good ideas are in there, which is why it's a great book!

Rich: The best stuff made it in, but I was sorry we couldn't get the equerry prestige class to work the way I envisioned it. I hear it got reworked for another product, though

Wizards: As a DM, what's the coolest thing you've ever done with religion in a campaign?

James: Religion is one area where I've always put a lot of energy in developing my campaigns. One of my 2nd edition campaigns used "religion kits" as a way of giving benefits to the followers of a religion (not just the clerics) in exchange for adhering to a code of behavior. In my Roman campaign, I made up a dwarf earth-mother goddess who was a favorite among the oppressed subjects of the empire, as well as a crazed Egyptian cult of a baboon-headed god. I've developed one campaign around orders devoted to archangels, and another with a single god whose avatar is a unicorn who died and rose again.

Rich: I wrote a campaign where the primary terrain was rolling grasslands. The rulers of this land were nomadic feline humanoids, and they had an animistic religion where spirits lived in all things, all around the characters, and spoke to the characters through their dreams. My players seemed to really enjoy it.

Wizards: What have you been doing since completing work on Defenders of the Faith?

James: I’ve spent the vast majority of time writing the new Oriental Adventures book, due out in October.

Rich: Primarily, more work on including gods in D&D. I also spent some time working on a d20 project that went bust, being a panelist at Norwescon, planning for Origins, playtesting the first Star Wars super-adventure, and working on the internal review council.

Wizards: What advice do you have for players creating clerics or paladins?

James: Don't let your character be typecast (says the ex-minister who wrote Defenders of the Faith . . . ). Defy the expectations that other players put on the cleric (the healing machine) and the paladin (the goody-goody). The two characters I've played extensively since I started working at Wizards were a rogue who multiclassed into paladin and a cleric of Wee Jas. Break the stereotypes!

Rich: Try to divorce yourself from the traditional, medieval European ideals of these characters. Look for similar archetypes in other cultures and find inspiration for characters there. Otherwise my advice is the same as for any other character class: the new D&D favors specialization. Talk with your group about what interests you and what the group needs, and focus your character's skills and feats on the results of that.

Wizards: Why can't paladins multiclass freely? How does their devotion or code of behavior differ from a cleric's?

James: This is obviously not an official statement: It's just a rule. If you don't like it, change it. Maybe in the context of your game world, it makes perfect sense to let paladins multiclass. That's true (at least in some circumstances) in the Forgotten Realms. On the other hand, maybe in your campaign clerics can't multiclass freely -- once you've stepped away from the divine path, you can't go back. I don't know that there is a fundamental difference between clerics and paladins in this regard.

Rich: Two words: Alignment restriction. A paladin is always lawful good. Even though that paladin may not serve a religious order, she's always happier as a member of some group. That adds duties and responsibilities to the character. At least, that's how I justify it.

Wizards: What was your first D&D character?

James: I don't remember my first D&D character, though a nagging thought in the back of my mind is "dwarf fighter who died pretty quickly." But I don't know if I'm appropriating someone else's story. I do have fond memories of one of my clerics, Esteo Sunbird, a member of a mystery cult dedicated to a sun god. I played him in college, knee-deep in a religion major, so I went all out in developing the background of his religion.

Rich: I started out with the boxed set that had a big rulebook with a blue cover. That was back when 4-sided dice still had points and sidelined as caltrops. You could only build a fighter, thief, wizard, or cleric then, so I built a fighter and ran him through the included dungeon over and over again, getting the rules horribly wrong but learning a lot. My first AD&D character was a ranger, because I thought Aragorn was the coolest guy ever.

Want to know more about Defenders of the Faith?

Read an excerpt!

Check out our exclusive, web-only bonus material!

Rich Redman

Designer for the Wizards of the Coast RPG R&D department, Rich Redman started as a customer service rep in 1994 and moved to design in 1998. In addition to other projects, Rich is the main designer for the Marvel Super Heroes Adventure Game. That expression on his face comes from living with two dogs and three cats.

James Wyatt

James Wyatt wrote articles for Dragon Magazine and Dungeon Magazine before joining the Wizards of the Coast staff in January 2000. Game design is career Number Five, after stints as a childcare worker, ordained minister, technical writer, and web designer. He currently resides in Washington state.

 





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