The Ministry of Elemental Good

The faiths of the inner planes, and of geniekind, remain undeveloped.

The clergy of the inner planes dominate the ministry of Athas. Here the struggle is not between "law" and "chaos" but between environmentalism and ecologic disaster. In this nightmare world, would-be ministers, good and bad, apply to an elemental plane or sub-plane as a business arrangement. They pass through dramatic initiations and enjoy interesting powers. Air clergy tend to promote individual freedoms, water clergy tend to be healers and helpers, fire clergy are interested in reforestation (this seems a little contrived). and earth clergy focus on the good of the whole planet. Para-elemental clergy are less environmentally-friendly. Beyond this, clerical religion on Athas is little-concerned with ethics, morals, or the things that most of us consider meaningful or spiritual. According to "Dragon Kings", the masters of the elements enslave would-be full dragons for a time.

The "Temple of Elemental Evil" tells of a sham by the spiritual powers of Chaotic Evil. Their cult, designed to appeal to ignorant folks, glorified the destructive power of wildfire, storms, floods, and earthquakes. This superb dungeon-crawl has been popular ever since its publication. Each of the four temples presents a puzzle for role-players, and there are visits to pockets dominated by each of the four major elements. But the elements are not the stuff of philosophy or ideas. We can change this, and make them the subject of ministry itself.

The people of the inner planes are genies, and the few developed areas have an "Arabian Nights" theme. The offspring of their unions with humans have been introduced as the "genasi". In the "Arabian Nights" world of Al Qadim, idealism, good works, and racial tolerance takes the place of cults of "gods".

It is time to develop a ministry for the inner planes that both humans and geniekind could find fulfilling.

In the Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition, each of the elements is mirrored in scripture. In the Bible alone, the Good Lord is revealed in fire (the burning bush), is called a "rock" (strength and security), comes as a rushing wind at Pentecost, and is revealed in the "sound of many waters". A mist enters the garden at creation, the first man is moulded from mud, the rainbow is a symbol of a promise of mercy, the smoke of incense is the image of prayer ascending to heaven, Psalm 29 develops a thunderstorm as a divine image, Psalm 147 celebrates both wintry ice and snow and the springtime, minerals are cataloged in Aaron's priestly breastplate and at the gates of the New Jerusalem, and dust is a familiar symbol of human mortality. In Galatians and Colossians, Paul refers to the nature-spirits of paganism as "the elemental spirits of the universe", whose supposed control over the human race was superseded by the gospel.

Membership in the "Ministers of Elemental Good" is open to any good-aligned person of sufficient spiritual strength (i.e., the wisdom statistic) who feels a call to class as clergy. Lay members need have no particular abilities.

The sect aims primarily to minister to the inhabitants of the inner planes, and extreme environments on the prime material plane. The sect exhorts others to do good, and to follow the golden rule. These clergy do not pretend to have ultimate answers, and rather than promoting a "deity/power", they admit not knowing exactly how they acquire their special abilities. They must give alms to the poor, they must refrain from alcohol and other recreational mind-altering substances, and each is expected to make a pilgrimage to the sect headquarters (somewhere in the ethereal) at least once during his or her lifetime. Favorite mottos include "Hands that help are better than lips that pray" and "Be kind, and you will have joy." Clergy of lawful inclination tell the faithful, "You shall love the Supreme Good, and your neighbor as yourself. These are the two laws, and they are inseparable." Clergy of chaotic inclination may say, "Love, and then do what seems right." Worship is simple, and rules are limited to what is required to maintain some organization. Many, though not all, of their places of worship are inspired by Arabian culture. Those who belong to a faction typically choose the Athar, the Believers of the Source, the Free League, or the Bleakers ("Since nothing ultimately matters, why NOT be kind?")

Novices discover (players choose) the plane with which the cleric will "resonate". This may be any of the inner planes (including the energy planes, the para-elemental planes, and the quasi-elemental planes) except the ethereal. The choice of plane supplies images for church ornamentation, liturgy, and homiletics.

For the Second Edition:

For the Third Edition:

For both editions

These clerics do not require holy symbols or material components, but exercise their magic by force of goodness. At the cleric's option at the time of casting, either the verbal or the somatic component is sufficient.

At level 1, each minister of elemental good gains the ability to communicate (in at least a rudimentary way) with creatures of the plane of choice, and prime-plane creatures with affinites to the plane. For example, a cleric of fire could talk with efreeti (fire genies), salamanders, fire giants, red dragons, and fire newts. A cleric of lightning could talk to lightning para-elementals, bronze and blue dragons, behir, storm giants, lightning mephits, and so forth. Generally these creatures will be on good terms with the cleric, all other things being equal.

At level 2, each minister of elemental good can survive and breathe for 1 round/level daily on the plane of choice, and in environments like it on the prime. This does not require the use of any spell. For example, a cleric of fire would be safe and comfortable in a bonfire or on a lava bed for a brief time. During this time, a cleric will take half-or-no damage (depending on the saving throw, which is always allowed) from magical attacks based on the element. Time may be divided into intervals throughout the day, and if there is a sudden need (for example, a fire cleric is surprised by a fireball), the protection may kick in automatically so long as the cleric is on good behavior (referee's discretion). If the plane of choice is air, the cleric takes a maximum of one point per dice of falling damage at other times, can "feather-fall" for one round per level daily, and never has unwanted collisions in freefall on the planes.

At level 3, each minister of elemental good can move normally through the substance of the plane for 1 round/level, and/or simply meld into the substance for the same amount of time. If the plane is one that permits normal movement (air, water, smoke, steam, mist, fire), then the movement rate is doubled. At this time, the cleric also begins to be able to communicate with the element itself, as with "stone tell" or reading "psychic impressions". This must be arbitrated by the referee. The ability grows stronger as the cleric increases in level. This is best used as a role-playing and plot-furthering device.

At level 4, each minister can sense what's present within a quarter-mile per level through the element (para-element, quasi-element) of choice. This is usable for 1 round/level daily, and is directional, one general direction per round. Air clerics can sense invisible creatures. The cleric can also find his or her way on the plane of choice.

At level 5, the cleric can live freely and comfortably in the element of choice, and can survive easily in the substance of any adjacent plane for 1 round/level.

At level 6, each minister of elemental good can survive indefinitely on the plane of choice, never takes damage from the element of choice in its natural form, and takes half-or-no damage from magical attacks based on that element. Any additional protective magic against the element will render the cleric completely immune to all forms of harm from that element.

At level 7, each minister can move at will, and with complete safety and comfort, through the substance of the plane of choice. He or she can also meld with the substance. For 1 round/level daily, the minister can bring 1 companion per level. Also for 1 round/level, the minister can move freely through the substance of any adjoining plane. For example, a cleric of fire could move briefly through magma and ash.

At level 8, each minister has unlimited ability to sense things within range, and can also do so for 1 round/level in the substance of any adjoining plane. The latter becomes unlimited at level 12. The cleric can now find his or her way on any plane adjoining the plane of choice.

At level 9, the cleric can survive comfortably at will on any plane adjacent to the one of choice. He or she can bestow adaptation to the plane of choice to one companion per level at a time. This last as long as the cleric wishes, or for 1 round/level per day for planes adjacent to the plane of choice.

At level 10, the cleric takes no damage from any magical attacks based on the element, regardless of saving throws, and can survive and move on any inner plane without further magics.

At level 11, each minister can bring 1 companion per level through the substance of the chosen plane, with no restriction, or through the substance of an adjacent plane for 1 round/level. The latter becomes unlimited at level 15.

At level 14, the minister is completely protected from all damage, even magical, based on the substance of any adjacent plane. (For example, air clerics are always immune to "lightning bolt", and ash clerics are always immune to "fireball".)

Experience points should be awarded for role-playing the elemental focus. Your suggestions for the "Ministers of Elemental Good" are most welcome. Mail me at No texting or chat messages, please. Ordinary e-mails are welcome.

[Do Justice, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly]

Air Ministries -- Liberation
Ash Ministries -- Penance
Dust Ministries -- Remembrance
Earth Ministries -- Protection
Fire Ministries -- Wholesome Fear
Grime Ministries -- Street Ministry
Ice Ministries -- Courage
Lightning Ministries -- the Hardened
Magma Ministries -- Disasters
Minerals Ministries -- Commerce
Mist Ministries -- Tolerance
Negative Energy Ministries -- End of Life
Ooze Ministries -- Agriculture
Positive Energy Ministries -- Beginning of Life
Radiance Ministries -- Mysticism
Rainbows Ministries -- Peacemaking
Shadows Ministries -- Ethics
Smoke Ministries -- Liturgy
Steam Ministries -- Social Justice
Water Ministries -- Purification
Vacuum Ministries -- Renunciation

The Inner Planes
The Outer Planes

Reshaping the Multiverse -- What Planescape Could Be
Li Po's Hermitage -- free character generators, lots more.

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