Finding the Path – Clerical Domination: Darkness Domain

Hello everyone, and welcome to the next installment in a series of articles focusing on the Cleric Domains in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. The goal for each of these is to provide you with a quick overview of your domain powers, spells, and introduce you to a god or goddess from real-Earth mythology who could be a deity using this particular domain.

All that said, welcome to this week’s article on the domain of Darkness

 

The Darkness domain is described as “You manipulate shadows and darkness.”- From that, we can reasonably assume that this is a deity of darkness, possibly one of trickery and thievery, striking from the shadows against his opponents.

So what does a cleric with this domain get?

Well, first off, they get Blind-Fight as a bonus feat, which allows you to reroll whenever you miss due to concealment. In effect, that means that it halves the chances of you missing due to concealment. Furthermore, invisible creatures no longer get their normal bonuses on hitting you in melee (though they still get it from ranged attacks). Since you no longer lose your Dexterity bonus to your AC, that also means that an opponent has a much harder time using sneak attacks against you.

Finally, it allows you to avoid the necessity of Acrobatics checks for being blinded, which is a bit incidental, but it is very handy in certain situations.
All in all, quite a nice feat.

Secondly, you get the granted power “Touch of Darkness,” which allows you to cloud an opponent’s vision, granting anyone he attacks the benefit of concealment, meaning that on top of his normal attack rolls, he has a further 20% miss chance. Extremely handy against opponents who rely on their to-hit rolls (and extremely frustrating to be the victim of).

Finally, you get “Eyes of Darkness,” which allows you to ignore the effects of darkness, even magical darkness. While ignoring darkness might not seem like a big thing, in a game that has low-light vision and darkvision, ignoring MAGICAL darkness, however, is. Only very few creatures have that ability (such as certain fiends), and in areas of magical darkness such as that created by Deeper Darkness, you can still see, where creatures with low-light and darkvision cannot.

 

Spells:

The spells you get with the Darkness domain are as follows:

Obscuring Mist
Obscuring Mist is an overlooked spell for its sheer ability. It provides a 20% miss chance within 5 feet and 50% miss chance to anything further away. It is a huge advantage to have at any level, and the only real competitor for defensive purposes is invisibility. Some spells (and windy conditions) can disperse the mist, but these are all much higher level than Obscuring Mist itself. The downside, of course, is that you cannot target anyone either when they’re more than 5 feet away unless you have other senses than sight. Fog Cloud should be mentioned here as well, as it is very similar to Obscuring Mist, except that it cannot be dissipated by fire spells.

Blindness
Blindness provides the following: The creature cannot see. It takes a –2 penalty to Armor Class, loses its Dexterity bonus to AC (if any), and takes a –4 penalty on most Strength– and Dexterity-based skill checks and on opposed Perception skill checks. All checks and activities that rely on vision (such as reading, and Perception checks based on sight) automatically fail. All opponents are considered to have total concealment (50% miss chance) against the blinded character. Blind creatures must make a DC 10 Acrobatics skill check to move faster than half speed. Creatures that fail this check fall prone. – All in all, a handy spell to have.

Deeper Darkness
Deeper Darkness lowers the illumination in an area by 2 steps. And that’s an important note to make on the spell; it does NOT cover the area in darkness. It only lowers the illumination levels by two steps, so it’ll take normal light to darkness. But that IS enough to create the requirements for Stealth, so throw this on one of your stealthy adventuring companions, and they’re good to go. Most importantly though is that unlike Darkness, Deeper Darkness does not allow a character with darkvision or low-light vision to see through it.

Shadow Conjuration
No illusionist who can cast this spell should leave home without it. Its sheer utility is impressive and extremely useful if you do not know what you’re heading into. (Which, let’s be honest, most PCs do not.) It is a relatively simple spell that summons partially real versions of any summoning or creation subschool spells of 3rd level or lower. As such you could cast anything from Monster Summoning I or Mage Armor to Monster Summoning III or Stinking Cloud. As such, while it might be less effective than these normally (if disbelieved) it allows for an enormous potential for versatility. Just bear in mind that spells of the shadow subschool are partially real, so even if disbelieved they can still cause damage.

Summon Monster V
This spell allows you to summon a monster of CR 5 or 6. It makes for a very handy back up at the level where you get it (9), though, on its own, it is merely a distraction for any opponent you’re likely to meet at this level.

Shadow Walk
A useful transportation spell, in that it allows you to travel 50 miles per hour or the equivalent of a day’s horseback ride, every hour. This will allow you and your party to significantly cut down on travel time, and you also avoid the possibility of landing in the wrong place that you’d get with a Teleport spell, plus you may also cross into other planes, a useful ability.

Power Word: Blind
This is one of those spells that’s just nasty in and of itself. For creatures with low hit points (important note: this is CURRENT hit points, not maximum hit points, so you can arrange for a creature to drop low on hit points first), the effect is permanent. For others not so, but it’s still nasty. And that is due to the blinded condition itself. Unless you have some other sense, you’re blinded as per the condition. Blinded reads as follows:” it takes a –2 penalty to Armor Class, loses its Dexterity bonus to AC (if any), and takes a –4 penalty on most Strength– and Dexterity-based skill checks and on opposed Perception skill checks. All checks and activities that rely on vision (such as reading, and Perception checks based on sight) automatically fail. All opponents are considered to have total concealment (50% miss chance) against the blinded character. Blind creatures must make a DC 10 Acrobatics skill check to move faster than half speed. Creatures that fail this check fall prone. Characters who remain blinded for a long time grow accustomed to these drawbacks and can overcome some of them.”

And remember TOTAL concealment means Stealth, which means SNEAK attacks J+

Greater Shadow Evocation
See Shadow Conjuration but for 7th level spells and below, and they must be evocation spells.

Shades
As Shadow Conjuration, but 8th level spells and below.

 

New Deity

Itzpapalotl
The Darkness, Obsidian Butterfly, the Death of Night, the Feminine Warrior
Alignment LN
Worshipers city-dwellers, guards, people with a home, statesmen, those wishing for peace

Cleric Alignments LG, LN, LE, NG, N
Domains: Community, Darkness, Death, Healing, War
Sub-domains: Family, Night, Restoration, Resurrection, Tactics
Favored Weapon: dagger (preferably made from obsidian)
Symbol: A human skeleton with obsidian butterfly wings

Itzpapalotl, the Obsidian Butterfly, is a goddess of the night, a warrioress, but deeply devoted to both family, life, and rebirth. She is the keeper and guardian of those who die in childbirth, keeping them safe in paradise, until the souls are ready to re-enter the cycle of life and death once more.
She is a goddess of the night, but also of the end of that night, showing that the night is not an enemy, but a time for relaxation, reflection, and family. A time for making ready for the day to come.

Her clerics help out within the community, often serving as midwives, but equally often serving as guards, protectors, and law enforcers for the community in which they live, and they will often take the time to educate newcomers and the young in the proper ways to behave within society. On the battlefield, however, they are vicious fighters, giving no quarter, fully expecting the goddess to judge the dead when they come before her, and determine if that soul has lived a life worthy of rebirth. As such they will attempt to destroy their opponents as quickly and efficiently as possible, though they will not kill someone who has surrendered to them.

Her worshippers pray twice a day, once when the sun goes up, and once more when the sun goes down, showing the times where her powers are at their greatest. Worshippers who are about to engage in combat will also offer up a prayer to the Feminine Warrior, praying for victory, or mercy in defeat.

Next week, we look at the Death domain. Let us know in the comments if you have anything you wish to add or see addressed.

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Kim Frandsen

Kim Frandsen

37 years old, and a gamer since I was 13. These days I freelance as a writer for various companies (currently Fat Goblin Games, Flaming Crab Games, Outland Entertainment, Purple Duck Games, Rusted Iron Games and Zenith Games) as well as editing the Pathfinder and D&D 5th edition lines for D20PFSRD Publishing. I've dipped my hands into all sorts of games, but my current "go-to" games are Pathfinder, Dungeon Crawl Classics and SLA Industries. Unfortunately, while wargaming used to be a big hobby, with wife, dog and daughter came less time.
Kim Frandsen

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