This is an old idea of mine – a “pagan priest” archetype. Most D&D/Pathfinder religions are shaped like medieval churches (or at least fiction-based medieval churches), with the usual “pagan” trappings. I wanted something different – not a divine caster devoted to an order, a deity or a church but a holy man, an intermediary between the divine and the mundane worlds.
The Priest can make sacrifices to various deities and receive blessings from different patrons, following the proper ethos and performing the rituals based on the needs of the local communities. Good priests will try to placate and offer sacrifice to Good deities, but won’t shrink of making pacts with Dark Powers (like those of diseases, death and destruction) if that’s necessary to better settle a crisis (like a plague). You can see the Priest as a more civilized Oracle or Shaman, on its way to becoming the “modern” Clerics. Priests don’t organize themselves in churches or holy orders, but in guilds and collegiums – usually segregated by cultures and social class. If I used an Ancient- or Classical-based setting, I’d encourage my players to use Priests instead of Clerics.
Priests refer to the deities or pantheons that they currently honor as their Divine Patrons.
The Priest (Cleric Archetype)
The Priest's class skills are Appraise (Int), Bluff (Cha), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (all) (Int), Linguistics (Int), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), and Spellcraft (Int).
Skill Points per Level (4 + Int modifier)
All of the following are class features of the Priest.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Priests are proficient with the following weapons: club, heavy mace, light mace, quarterstaff, and sling. They are not proficient with armors or shields.
Patron Aura: A Priest who summons a Patron of Chaotic, Evil, Good, or Lawful alignments gains the corresponding aura.
If somehow a Priest manages to firm pacts with entities of opposite alignments, he would follow a specific rule: the Priest “reads” as both contradictory auras (for example Good and Evil), always suffering the most detrimental effect (for example, a Priest with both a Good and an Evil Patron, targeted by unholy blight, would suffer damage as a Good target).
This class feature changes slightly at 20th level.
Touched by the Divine: Priests dedicate their lives to contemplate and study the divine mysteries – including deities, gods, spirits and the soul. Unlike Clerics, a Priest can’t lose his spell class feature by violating the code of conduct of his patron, only his domains (see below).
Patron Domains: While preparing spells, a Priest can commune with the presence of a Divine Patron. This patron is usually a deity, spirit or a unique/powerful outsider. The Priest usually offers small sacrifices, prayers and propritiations, forging a pact with such Patron.
In game terms, the Priest can choose daily any domains from his Patron’s portfolio, changing his domains each time he prepares spells.
To change a Patron, a Priest must perform a lengthier ritual, in a proper place, taking usually 4 hours to do so.
At 1st level, a Priest can commune with one Patron, gaining access to any three domains of such divine entity.
At 5th level the Priest can commune with two Patrons at once, choosing freely from their domains.
At 10th level, the Priest can keep three Patrons at the same time.
While in such pacts a Priest must act accordingly to the corresponding ethos, regardless of the caster’s original alignment. Otherwise, the Priest loses access to his domains. The Priest must be careful when communing with multiple Patrons to avoid contradictory ethos, otherwise he can end not only without domains, but also cursed.
Priests gain all domain powers and spells normally, as a Cleric.
Miracle Worker: The Priest doesn’t need to prepare his domain spells in advance. He can use his domain slot to cast spontaneously from any one of his current domains (using his current domain spells as known spells).
Rebuke the Otherworld: At 2nd level, the Priest gains channel energy as a Cleric of the same level, except that this power can only be used to damage outsiders. The Priest can select which outsiders to affect each time the ability is used.
Divine Servant: At 4th level a Priest is constantly under the protection of the divine, in the form of a guardian outsider. This ability works like lesser planar ally, except that the outsider must have 2HD or less, and that it’s tasked solely with protecting the Priest.
If destroyed, the Priest can request a new servant in 7 days, without paying any of the spell’s usual requirements. Until destroyed, the servant will stay be the Priest’s side at all times (with can be troublesome sometimes).
Summoning a divine servant is done while the Priest is preparing his daily spells. Once summoned, the servant can only be dismissed the next time the Priest prepares his spells.
At the GM’s approval, a Priest can try to negotiate further tasks with his divine servant. This usually requires payment, by the lesser planar ally normal rules.
At 8th level, the Priest’s divine servant can have 6HD or less (like lesser planar ally).
At 12th level, the Priest’s divine servant can have 12HD or less (like planar ally).
Tongues of the Gods: At 10th level, the Priest can communicate with any outsider.
Abjure the Otherworld: At 6th level, when the Priest uses his Rebuke the Otherworld ability, he can choose one targeted outsider to suffer the effects of a dismissal or dispel magic.
At 14th level, when the Priest uses his Rebuke the Otherworld ability, he can choose the targeted outsiders to suffer the effects of a banishment (limited by the spell’s rule, for example, the limit of 2HD per caster level).
Ruler of the Mundane World: At 16th level, the Priest can spend a use of his Rebuke the Otherworld ability to target one creature (not only outsiders) at range with a greater dispel magic. The Priest can even target supernatural abilities.
At 18th level, the Priest can cast dispel magic (counterspell) as an immediate action when he’s the target of an effect. Instead, when touched or attacked in melee by an outsider, the Priest can choose, also as an immediate action, to cast banish on it.
Avatar: At 20th level, the Priest becomes in flesh the earthly representative of the divine. He doesn’t need to follow any particular ethos to keep his pacts and domain spells. When targeted by any effect, the Priest can choose to be treated as an outsider or as a creature of any alignment.
The Priest is constantly under the effect of a protection from chaos/evil/good/law that can’t be dispelled (but the Priest can dismiss it when it suits him) and that is treated as an extraordinary ability.
Finally, when an outsider is susceptible to a banishment from the Priest, he can only return to the Material Plane through a wish, miracle, divine intervention or the Priest’s express permission.
Priests don’t gain the Channel Energy and Spontaneous Casting class features from the Cleric.