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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Clerical Item Creation

There's a post on Untimately about Brendan's house/system rules for potion manufacture that made me think about clerics manufacturing potions or other items. Certainly in AD&D there are rules for clerical magic item creation, which is arguably easier than the process used by magic-users, at least for everything other than potions and scrolls. But in the original booklets, there are no such rules. In fact, I would say that the rules strongly imply that magic item creation is strictly a magic-user ability.

Many people house-ruled otherwise, of course, probably because they felt odd about magic-users being able to make potions of healing, scrolls of clerical spells, or other items usable only by clerics. Paradoxically, most people didn't change the rules about magic-users being able to make weapons and armor they were unable to use, although the Judges Guild Ready Reference Sheets had rules about M-Us needing the assistance of dwarven smiths to make weapons and armor.

My own inclination is to keep magic item creation strictly in the domain of magic-users, with one possible exception: holy water. Holy water is not, strictly speaking, a magic item, but it has unusual properties and is manufactured, if you want to call it that. (I'll have some house rules on holy water in a future post.) For other items, I'd make the following house rules:

  • A potion of healing isn't really clerical, despite the fact that only clerics can cast healing spells.
  • Items to be used by clerics must be blessed by a cleric before enchantment begins.
  • Clerical scrolls likewise require blessed parchment and ink. Unlike magic-user scrolls, cleric scrolls don't follow the Holmes house rule; only wizards can create cleric scrolls.


  1. I like the only magic-users can create scrolls (even cleric scrolls) thing, and have maintained that.

    Holy water is so cheap in Men & Magic that it doesn't seem to make sense to have crafting rules for it unless you make it not generally available (which I have been loathe to do since it is on the basic price list).

    Potions I am still waffling on. As of now, I think I will allow clerics to make some, but I may shift back to the "magic-users only" approach that you advocate here (especially since clerics in my current game have so many other things to spend GP on, like protection scrolls, seal evil rituals, and ghost traps).

    1. I'll save my ideas for holy water creation for later, but they're really simple and don't involve a great deal of cost. I figure holy water is cheap because it's mostly a matter of a priest blessing the water, rather than any kind of brewing. The church can crank out tons of it; it's the container that is pricey.

      As I understand it, actual holy water in a Catholic church is free to parishioners.

    2. Yes, but I've never seen anyone fill up a vial for use against the undead. Other than in the Lost Boys. ;)

    3. My grandmother used to keep some one hand to sprinkle around the house whenever there was a storm, though...

  2. Holmes takes it a bit further, implying that scrolls with cleric spells can only be used by magic-users. One of his Boinger & Zereth stories even has the elf Zereth using a set of clerical scrolls provided by a patriarch.

    Perhaps clerical magic items could require a magic-user and a cleric, working together.