Clerics & Crossbows

I probably should have just named this blog “Clerics and Crossbows” from the jump. Such is life, and hindsight.

Anyway, in my setting background is the notion that all Clerics (Warrior-Priests) serve the same pantheon of gods, and all(1) are “of Law’, which plays to the OSR concept of Alignment. Given the nature of the pantheon involved(2), I unilaterally declared that clerics can only wield weapons shod or constructed of brass. Clever(3). Works great to address genre-historical prohibitions on clerics wielding cutting or piercing weapons.

But. Well, it’s rather rubbish against prohibiting crossbow use(4), as a brass tipped crossbow bolt(5) will still happily punch right through a person. Most armor, too. And since “of Law” encompasses science and technology(6), I’m delightedly imagining baroque steampunk clockwork repeating crossbows, and you know who should be most familiar with their use? Freaking clerics, that’s whom(7).

I still need to find an approved missile weapon for magic-users more appropriate than lawn darts, though. Anybody have any suggestions?

  1. Warrior-Priests of Chaos are not clerics. Warrior-Priests of the Balance are known as Druids.
  2. Babylonian, from the Sumerian. I don’t know any modern practitioners of such to offend with my blasphemy, give or take some exes that would plausibly leap at the chance to claim Inanna made them do it.
  3. Well, I thought it was clever at the time. It’s low class of me to claim so now, I suppose.
  4. And this, after I’ve already handwoven in light crossbows for magic-users, on account of the historical yet entirely inappropriate for the setting sense of religious outrage against the crossbow in our own timeline.
  5. “I have no quarrel with you, sir.”
  6. Well, I was trying to justify a “mad scientist” aesthetic for magic-users, but now I’m picturing the Brotherhood of Pythagoras as a gnostic sect devoted to understanding the will of the gods through an exploratory knowledge of natural philosophy, and we’re off to the races with galvanic wands and the smokeless flame of Muhammad ibn Zakariya Al-Razi.
  7. Gets me out of the “firearms for sherrifs” business too, which would be a loss… except the replacement is just so much cooler than gunpowder.

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