Redman and James Wyatt
By Jesse Decker
Redman | James Wyatt
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?
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.
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?
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
Wizards: As a DM,
what's the coolest thing you've ever done with religion in a campaign?
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
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?
Ive spent the vast majority of time writing the new Oriental
Adventures book, due out in October.
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?
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?
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
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?
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
to know more about Defenders of the Faith?
out our exclusive, web-only bonus material!
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.
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.