There are no Elves nor Clerics. Instead, there are the Malkhim, the Messengers with No Message, the Unthanked Guardians.
Long ago Lord of Light shone on the world, but long ago was that Light lost. Who can say whether the Lord turned away Its eyes willingly or was forced to do so. In any case, the land is now fallen & dark.
The only remnant of the brighter times are the Guardians or Malakhim. They were presumably set here by the Light, but their original purpose is unknown; either they’ve forgotten it, or will not speak of it.
Wanderers look like idealized humans: they are tall, symmetrical, smooth & perfect without blemish. They have no gender. They have no hair. Their flesh is the color of the afterimage of the sun on your eyelids. They bleed daylight.
If not killed by poison or violence, a Malakhim will live forever.
And it is unclear whether even violent death is a true end. Some have traveled with such a being for long enough to learn their alien features. And some have seen them die. And some who’ve done both have sworn that years later, in a distant land, they saw the same Guardian alive & well, though it did not seem to recognize them.
Note: Specifically thinking of OD&D or Delving Deeper here, but would probably work for other race-as-class D&D (B/X?) as a replacement for elves, or in any game as a new species.
Malakhim use the Cleric class, with the following modifications:
- no restrictions on sharp/pointy weapons
- they have the special senses of an elf (4-in-6 chance to find secret doors actively, 2-in-6 passively, and 2-in-6 listening at doors)
- they are immune to paralysis as elves
Instead of a spellbook they must carry a stone tablet covered in writing only they can understand. The stone reveals secrets to them as they grow in wisdom & experience.
The flavor of clerics & elves didn’t fit into a setting I’m pondering. When I thought about getting rid of both of these things, I thought: hey, I could replace them with one thing!
I like the flavour of these much better than that of the human cleric. They fit the cleric rules very nicely: they have most of the best saving throws (a supernatural resistance or heavenly favour), they are fair fighters, will advance through the levels quickly, and will gain spells with a nice Old Testament feel.
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