||A cleric class that avoids magic? No magical aid? No spells? No domains? That?s exactly what ?Neo Clerics: The Opus Priest? presents, and presents well. Written by David Gallant, this installment in The Le Games? Neo Classes line creates a priest-based class which functions well despite its lack of divine magic.
The opus priest is dedicated to showing others how to live without magic, both arcane and divine. Believing that the solutions to life?s problems should be found through more mundane means, the opus priest is willing to work for his or her solutions. Rather than being confrontational with other PCs who do rely on magic and spells to help them succeed, the opus priest serves more as an example rather than an adversary. In fact, if the opus priest uses magic or benefits from spells, he or she will lose all of his or her class abilities for a day.
The class abilities for the opus priest all fit together well. Opus priests are granted the Endurance feat at 1st level as well as a bit of spell resistance (the spell resistance increases with each opus priest level). Further bonus feats are offered as the character advances, and while the available feat list is a bit small, the feats are devoted to the class? work ethic (some of the feats are Athletic, Diehard, Great Fortitude, Improved Initiative and Iron Will). A new feat called Personal Craftsmanship is also introduced (and granted to the opus priest at 3rd level) which grants the character a +1 circumstance bonus when using an item created by that character (this bonus can also mean a +1 to attack roles or a +1 armor bonus to the character?s Armor Class).
The opus priest introduces a new mechanic to the game in the form of divine boons. Instead of casting any kind of healing magic, an opus priest can call upon his or her deity ? the Patron of Works ? to grant healing. At all even levels, an opus priest is granted a number of boons based on his or her level. At first, the boon only heals 1d8 + 1 hit point per opus priest level, but as the character advances, the number of d8 increases. At higher levels, the boon can also restore ability damage. This is a clever and in-character workaround to having a cleric-based class with no healing magic, but the boons are finite. Once the opus priest uses them, there is no strict game mechanic for the opus priest to gain more. (Fortunately, there is a sidebar detailing how a player and a DM can work out a system in which the opus priest can earn more divine boons. Some examples, like creating masterwork items, are given.)
This class is solidly designed. Writer Gallant has done an excellent job in creating a cleric-like class that stands on its own merits and is also rich in role-playing opportunities. For gamers who prefer a lower-magic world, the opus priest is an obvious choice, but even in a higher-magic world, this class would be fun to play.
LIKED: This is a great product! The non-magic using opus priest more than makes up for its lack of spellcasting with its own class abilities. This is a character rich in flavor and solid in mechanics. Of The Le Games' Neo Class releases, the opus priest is easily one of my favorites.
DISLIKED: While the opus priest's stance on magic use is made quite clear, no mention is made of how the opus priest may view psionics. This is a minor omission, however, and an attentive DM (if he or she even uses psionics in the game) can easily overcome this.
VALUE: Very Satisfied
[5 of 5 Stars!]