mercredi 22 mai 2013

Supplement II : Blackmoor - Temple of the Frog - Background

J'ai peu de temps en ce moment pour bloguer, aussi je découperais ce post en plusieurs parties faute de temps pour toutes les rédiger en une fois.

Commençons donc avec la trame de fond.
"Deep in the primaeval swamps of Lake Gloomey" notez le "primaeval" (=primitif). De un, cela rappelle bien sûr les dinosaures préhistoriques dont j'ai parlé dans un post précédent, et de deux, il serait difficile de ne pas faire le rapprochement avec ce post de excellente série de Wayne Rossi sur l'univers impliqué de OD&D. Blackmoor prend de plus en plus d'allures de Lost World.
"Combining the natural animals available with each other — through the use of biological mutations and methods discovered in old manuscripts — the Brothers began developing the giant killer frogs of the swamp." Inutile de commenter une énième fois cette fascination de Dave Arneson pour les grenouilles géantes (c'est sans aucun doute lui qui en a fait un monstre emblématique de D&D), le titre de ce module est déjà assez parlant. Ce choix d'un amphibien est assez révélateur : voici un autre monstre du fond des âges, lié autant aux monstres marins qu'aux reptiles. La grenouille est vraiment un animal qui gagne à se faire grosse comme un boeuf, contrairement à ce que suggère le très connu fabuliste ! Plus intéressant encore est la mention de mutations biologiques découvertes dans de vieux manuscrits : voilà qui est contradictoire. Les manipulations biologiques (déjà assez intrigantes telles quelles) demandent des connaissances à coté de laquelle l'imprimerie est un jeu d'enfant. Pourquoi alors des manuscrits ? Cet antique savoir a du être développé par des civilisations ou des races disparues depuis des éons, sans doute les mêmes qui sont à l'origine de la Cité des Dieux et des objets technologiques de Blackmoor. Leurs écrits originaux se sont perdus (peut-être en subsiste t-il quelques-uns, rares, très chers et indéchiffrables même aux meilleurs linguistes - qu'en est-il de lecture des langages ?) et seuls subsistent les traductions manuscrites de traductions précédentes etc. Un peu à la manière des grimoires du Mythe de Cthulhu, pour tracer un parallèle. Revenons à cette étrange science des manipulations génétiques. Elle ouvre des possibilités immenses : la science avancée revient-elle à de la magie magnifiée purifiée de tout ésotérisme ? quelle était cette antique civilisation (ses buts, son apparence etc.) ? pourquoi a t-elle "disparu" (exil, cataclysme, extinction, guerre...) ? quelles ont été les créations de ces biologistes de génie ? les monstres ? les dinosaures ? l'Homme ("a biological abomination which would ultimately threaten the existence of all life" selon la secte de la grenouille) ? toute vie ? La question vertigineuse de la Genèse de Blackmoor, en quelque sorte, et une source intarissable d'aventures en tous genres.

To be continued...

dimanche 19 mai 2013

[Making a Fantasy Sandbox] D3 - Vault of the Drow | Part 1

  1. Pick an area roughly 200 miles by 150 miles
  2. Grab a 8.5 by 11 sheet of hex paper.
  3. The scale should be so that it represents a 200 by 150 mile region
  4. Draw in mountains
  5. Draw in rivers
  6. Draw in hills using them to divide the region into distinct river valley
  7. Draw in vegetation (swamps, forests, desert, etc)
To serve as sandbox, Vault of the Drow is far too small (6x6 miles). I want to increase the size of hexagones from 240 yards to 1 mile. This is a huge increase (x7,3) which will radically change the scaling of adventures in D3


We will see later if it is suitable: it will always be time to change.  
So this is the new map of Vault of the Drow (note that the city and the temple were significantly decreased in terms of size). I did not try to stick strictly to the original (too tedious, but the locations and shapes are the same).

PS : I did not specified it in the original post, but I will also convert characteristics from AD&D to OD&D.

Any suggestions/comments ?  


Click to enlarge.

[Making a Fantasy Sandbox] D3 - Vault of the Drow

There is no need to brag for the umpteenth time the module D3 : those who read this blog are as much aware of this fact as me.
However, one can see a lot of people asking : "What the characters are supposed to do in this module?". Asking this question amounts to miss the main interest of Vault of the Drow. Why ?
BECAUSE D3 IS A FANTASY SANDBOX!
Although this isn't an earth-shaking revelation, it's worth repeating.
  
So, what's the purpose of this post?
Vault of the Drow is in the top 5 of my favorite modules, and thereby I am toying with the idea of finally playing it.

Yet it is clear that D3 is not a ready-to-play module. It needs to be expanded and reworked with love by the referee, and this is even more the case if one wishes to play it as a sandbox. So this message began a series of posts in which I will try to extend D3 to make it playable without prior preparation by the DM, while still maintaining a minimalist style leaving any latitude to the environment to be changed during play. 

I will try to follow the 34 steps of the method created by the brilliant Rob Conley on his Bat in the Attic blog. 
  1. Using one page sketch a world or continent map
  2. Label important regions
  3. Write one page of background giving no more than a handful of sentences to each region.
  4. Pick an area roughly 200 miles by 150 miles
  5. Grab a 8.5 by 11 sheet of hex paper.
  6. The scale should be so that it represents a 200 by 150 mile region
  7. Draw in mountains
  8. Draw in rivers
  9. Draw in hills using them to divide the region into distinct river valley
  10. Draw in vegetation (swamps, forests, desert, etc)
  11. Decide to place Population Locales note their race this includes social monsters
  12. Decide to place Lairs (locales tht revolves around a home of monsters)
  13. Decide to place Ruins (locales that revolves around a site)
  14. Decide to place miscellaneous locales. (anything that doesn't fit a above.
  15. Name your geography (don't forget islands)
  16. Write a Half Page background describing the region and it's history.
  17. Write a paragraph describing each named geography
  18. Write a paragraph describing each Population Locale
  19. Write a paragraph describing each Lair (you could get away with a stat block)
  20. Write a paragraph describing each Ruin
  21. Look at your notes and come up with two to four plots that ties one or more locales together. Write a paragraph or two on each.
  22. For each population locale come up with three to five encounters. They should be a sentence each.
  23. Come up with 6 to 12 general encounter for the region as a whole. Should usable in any area of the region. They are a sentence or two each.
  24. Pick the 4 or 6 most important Population locales and draw a quarter page sketch map of the settlement.
  25. Pick the starting population locale and draw a full page map of the settlement. This is the "Home Base"
  26. Use Medieval Demographics to get an a idea of how many shops are in the town.
  27. Pick or create 6 or 12 important buildings. Write a paragraph each.
  28. Scan your descriptions for NPCs or noted monsters. Write a two sentence about each. The first a one line with minimal stats the second one sentence. This is your roster.
  29. Pick the 12 most important NPC or Monsters
  30. Write a paragraph describing each and fully stat them.
  31. Pick the most six common encounter type. (City Guard, Border Warders, Bloody Hand, Orcs) Write a paragraph and fully stat them.
  32. Scan your description for any regional organization and write a paragraph on them. Fully stat the most common encounters involved with them.
  33. Make up a rumor chart with 10 to 20 items that feeds the players into the encounter and plots you created in above.
  34. Identify major regions and create a random encounter chart for each (monsters, wildlife and NPCs).

jeudi 16 mai 2013

Dices & situations.

I thought about it lately and have come to the conclusion that there was another difference between the new school and the old school.

Basically there are three types of situations :
Case 1 (referred to as 'precedence of chaos') : the dices interpret the scene;
Case 2 (referred to as 'precedence of characters') : the scene interpret the dices;
Case 3 (referred to as 'roll playing') : there is no interpretation beyond mere numbers.  

Let me explain this concept : it is simply the issue of what came before. Is it the dice roll, or the description of the action ? Or more simply, who describes the action / attempt? The players or the master?

For example, when a character tries to disarm his foe, it is clearly case 1, whereas if following a lucky shot, the character makes the monster retreat into a precipice (or when you make a reaction /morale roll), it is rather the case 2. When a character inflict 5 damage points to the monster, this is case 3. 

It is obvious that the three types of dice rolls should be present in a game (or in the rules of a role-playing game): case 1 to ensure that players' creativity and control can express themselves, case 2 so that unexpected and referee's creativity can spice up the game, and case 3 to highlight the other cases. 

But things are a little obscure when we look at the games of the new school : 'precedence of chaos' becomes 'precedence of history' and 'precedence of characters' becomes 'precedence of rules'. Indeed, codifying actions of the characters means giving free rein to comparative and therefore to
umbers-based desicions (or metagame). The choice is stolen to players by the rules. Similarly, scenario and rules steal the freedom of the dungeon master. Rules impose their tyranny by curbing players as much as referees. 


In conclusion, choose chaos rather than rules !
  

mardi 14 mai 2013

[Monster] Ogres

To celebrate the fourth member of this blog, here's another interpretation* of this iconic OD&D monster that I dedicate to Bruce Heard!

*Remember, in monsters and treasures, creatures only have characteristics and an explanatory text of three lines, which leave much to the imagination of the DM.

I also want to make a small tribute to Sham, who disappeared from the blogosphere for a while but whose blog remains essential.

OGRE : No. Appearing: 3-18, AC: 5, Move: 9, HD: 4+1
 
Ogres are huge humanoids with bulging muscles and long arms that hang almost to the ground. Their massive fists as hard as stone inflict 1d6 +2 points of damage. Curiously, their cranium is external and not internal as with other humanoids, so that people often believe that ogres wear skull helmets. 

"Ogres have a mysterious history. It is not known exactly how they came into being, whether they were created with this world, or whether the union of some eons past races gave spawn to them, as Ogres do not have gender nor do they reproduce. What is known is that there is a finite number of Ogres in he world, and their very existence is threatened by the rise of man. Ogres apparently are immortal, and even those Ogres who have been slain and laid to rest are never truly dead, for their souls are tied to this world."

When an Ogre dies, its body is reduced to dust and his demonic spirit is released. The spirit wanders in the depths until it finds an entire corpse and insinuates in it (however it must wait 1d12 rounds after his death before reincarnating), causing a horrible mutation. The body deforms and eventually transform into that of an Ogre in great shape. The spirit of the ogre can cross all materials except lead and silver. Locked in a cage shaped in such a metal, it can not escape and may then be put to sleep for decades before an oblivious looter releases it ...

Defeating an ogre is very difficult: One must find the gem that the dark sorcerer used to summon this evil spirit and destroy it. This gem is always valuable, but it is rarely in possession of the ogre. These stupid monsters are unaware of the power of these gemstones which are surely hidden somewhere, perhaps in the hoard of another monster. 

dimanche 12 mai 2013

Combat Mutilations II


Part I
Question is: what consequences are those mutilations going to have on the character?
-porphyre77
These consequences are largely not very restrictive. The goal is not to make unplayable characters, but to feel the violence of the fight (and then anyway, if they have a mutilation, that's because they were below 0 hit points, and they should normally be dead by the rules). Consider this as a saving throw to sacrifice a body part in exchange for life.

Severed finger : no effect
Severed foot : decreased movement of one level
Blind eye : -1 on surprise rolls.
Severed hand : no two-handed weapons
Severed leg : decreased movement of two level
Severed arm : no two-handed weapons, -1 Strenght and Dexterity point  

Combat Mutilations

Mutilations, even if they are usually not very fun for players, add some character and a certain uniqueness to the characters. If I had to take this aspect into consideration, I think I would go with a rule like this:

From 0 hp, the character falls into unconsciousness. At the end of the fight, see the following table:
0, saving throw vs death, succeeded : survival, failed : death.
-1, saving throw vs death, succeeded : severed finger, failed : death.
-2, saving throw vs death, succeeded : severed foot, failed : death.
-3, saving throw vs death, succeeded : blind eye, failed : death.
-4, saving throw vs death, succeeded : severed hand, failed : death.
-5, saving throw vs death, succeeded : severed leg, failed : death.
-6, saving throw vs death, succeeded : severed arm, failed : death.    

[Monster] Ophidian undead

I was not very active lately. However, I created a new monster to scare to death your beginners as high-level parties.

Ophidian Undead

No. Appearing: 1-10
Armor Class: 7
Hit Dice: 2
Movement : 60'
Attacks: See Below
Alignment: Chaotic

In the distant kingdom of Stygia, the priests of Set perform strange rituals in the heart of darkened temples.One of the worst is the Call of the Swarms of the Snake God. Nobody except the evil clergy of Set knows how to proceed the ritual, but what is certain is that it ends with the invocation of amphisbaenians. These two-headed snakes with fangs dripping with venom then creep into a corpse through the nostrils and animate it with an unholy life, blowing up the eyeballs if they are still in place. These walking corpses have therefore instead of eyes the two heads of the amphisbaena pointing in the empty sockets.

In addition to the attack by the undead (1d6 damage), each head of the amphisbaena tries to bite every round to inoculate their poison, suddenly arising of the eye sockets and retracting the second after. Bites that are benign do not damage but if a saving throw versus poison is failed, the victim convulse for 3d6 rounds. Two simultaneous bites on the same person entails a saving throw against death.

Killing the undead does not necessarily kill the snake: if it is cornered and alone, it is killed automatically by the characters if they specify it. Otherwise, in a melee, the amphisbaena has a chance to escape and animate another body.

They are repelled by clerics as ghouls

jeudi 9 mai 2013

Magic shields shall be splintered !

Original rule.

I always thought D&D magic armor and shields tasteless, as negative armor classes bored me. Recently, I reread this Brian's rule and I had a kind of epiphany. So this is my version of this rule, in addition to my variant magic shields.

Shields shall be splintered :  

Anytime you are about to take damage (after a successful enemy hit but but before the damage roll) and have a shield equipped, you may choose to sacrifice the shield in order to avoid incurring the wound. This way, 1d6 points of damage is avoided. Since all weapons deal 1d6 points of damage, that means damage is avoided. In the case of bonus damage (because of strong opponents, as ogres for example, or magic weapons), only these bonuses are actually inflicted. 
An Ogre attacks a Warrior and manage to hit him. The character decides to discard his shield, and therefore suffers only 2 points of damage (the bonus damage).

In the case of magical shields, invoking this rule means that you subtract 1d6 + Xd6 damage from the blow, X is the number of “pluses” from its enchantment. Thus, a +1 shield would subtract 2d6, a +2 shield subtract 3d6, etc. A magical shield can undergo a blow* per day before being damaged. In this case, the shield loses one “plus” from its enchantment. Thus, a +1 shield would become a normal shield, a +2 shield becomes a +1 shield, etc.

*or X blows, but it seems too powerful.

Magic shield "pluses" does not apply to armor class.

mercredi 8 mai 2013

Supplement II : Blackmoor - Assassins

Dernière étape avant que je m'attaque à Temple of the Frog : l'assassin !
JB m'ayant précédé sur le sujet, je vais me contenter d'étendre son analyse en ajoutant quelques points que je trouve importants.

Les assassins, dans Blackmoor, font obligatoirement partie de LA guilde des Assassins. Immédiatement, ce point nous évoque quelques références historiques ou littéraires : les Nizârites (des hérétiques chiites ismaélites qui ont sévi entre le 11e et 13e siècle au Moyen-Orient sous la houlette du Vieux de la Montagne), les Sicaires juifs (la branche extrémiste des Zélotes qui combattait l'occupation romaine en assassinant dignitaires romains et collaborateurs juifs de 50 à 70, avant de conduire la première guerre judéo-romaine) et la Confrérie des Tueurs - Slayers' Brotherhood - (une branche de la Guilde des Voleurs de Lankhmar créée par Fritz Leiber). Ces trois références évoquent incontestablement le Moyen-Orient (respectivement la Syrie-Perse, la Judée, et un monde sword and sorcery oriental).

La Neutralité imposée est aussi un indice révélateur, quoique déroutant. Si on se place dans le contexte d'OD&D avec son alignement comme une "position" (voir mon post en anglais sur le sujet), cela tombe sous le sens, étant donné que l'assassin était à l'origine, dans les LBBs, un spécialiste PNJ engagé pour une mission (une variante de l'espion), donc totalement à l'écart des luttes de pouvoir (puisque recruté uniquement avec de l'argent) et ne répondant qu'au maître de la Guilde. Mais si on considère le fait qu'historiquement les sectes d'assassins avaient toutes une facette religieuse, cette neutralité est assez surprenante sachant que les Clercs de haut niveau dans OD&D doivent choisir soit la Loi, soit le Chaos. Peut-être un type de religion païenne (mais les Druides de Greyhawk sont Chaotiques !). Plutôt une philosophie religieuse, alors, d'où la Neutralité. 

Idées à en tirer :
  • Il existe dans le monde de Blackmoor une guilde d'Assassins, spécialisés dans le déguisement et les langues, commandée par un mystérieux grand-maître auquel on peut faire appel pour organiser des assassinats politiques (ou seulement des menaces). Ces meurtres sont le plus souvent commis dans la foule avec des longs poignards ou des sicas enduits de poison. Les Assassins ont interdiction de tuer d'autres personnes que leur cible. 
  • Cette secte mystique est installée dans les bastions montagneux d'une région en Orient, où sa philosophie étrange lui attire les foudres des royaumes et sultanats païens adjacents, qui sont néanmoins terrifiés par les capacités presque surnaturelles des Assassins. Fanatiques, les disciples du Grand Maître tenteront d'accomplir leur mission jusqu'à la mort ou la réussite, et ne commettront jamais de suicide.  
  • Le Grand Maître peut-être défié en combat singulier ou assassiné par un des Assassins qui prendra alors sa place. 
Hmm ! Tout ça a vraiment un goût exotique de Sword and Sorcery


mardi 7 mai 2013

Clerics & Anti-clerics - Part 4

If I had to involve Clerics in my campaign (nonexistent for a while, but who knows ?), here is a description I would make for my players (a summary of what I said previously) :

Clerics are religious warriors who are part of a very hierarchical order worshiping one only God. Once they proved their worth against Chaos, they are finally allowed to follow the Lamas' (or specialist in the Book) teachings. These scholars guide clerics through the five levels of the Book, each one bringing them broader spiritual knowledge manifesting itself by supernatural powers that reflect the cleric's deeper understanding of Creation.

But this exegesis is not unique: other interpretations, sometimes based on apocryphal texts, exist. Some say the world is the result of an unfortunate blend of darkness and light that will eventually split again. Others go even further by suggesting that the Creator is imperfect, as its creation, and that God has nothing to do with neither one nor the other. Lawful clerics are part of the mainstream whereas Chaotic are heretics, often rejected and fought by the Church. Patriachs, who inhabit strongholds, are the regional leaders of the Church wheras Heresiarchs are their counterparts.

Finally, Anti-clerics, who swapped their healing magic against a necromantic magic, gather together in sects worshiping (or even conjuring) demon lords. These cults, based in fortresses, are led by Evil High Priests who seek to overthrow the Church and impose their religion. 




Rules modifications :

Clerics 
-Chaotic clerics can repel the undead.
-Clerics use spell books as magic-users.
-Limited to 5th-level spells.

Anti-clerics 
They are treated as Clerics except for the following: 
-Anti-clerics use Thief Advancement Table for experience only. 
-Charisma is their Prime Attribute. 
-Anti-clerics cast reversed versions of reversible spells.  
-Turn undead ability is replaced by the Demon Control ability. 
Demon Control : Anti-clerics can conjure and/or control a demon whose true name they discovered in their treaties of demonology. Anti-clerics roll on the Turning Undead Table to determine the success of their attempt. If the roll is successful, the demon is under control (as the effect of a charm) for 2d6 days x anti-cleric level. The dice roll must be kept secret. Once this time has elapsed, the demon is free to do what it wants (like disembowelling the anti-cleric) for a number of rounds equal to its type. After that, it returns to where it came from. If the roll is unsuccesful, the demon is free to do what it wants (like disembowelling the anti-cleric) for a number of rounds equal to its type. After that, it returns to where it came from.

lundi 6 mai 2013

Clerics & Anti-Clerics - Part 3

As you may have noticed, there is no accurate description of the Anti-cleric in OD&D. Or rather, a description in the negative: (s)he does not launch the classic versions of reversible clerics spells, (s)he does not repel the undead etc.

This is even better for you! You have full latitude to develop your own Anti-cleric class... Let the creative juices flow! 

Nevertheless, this is a possible vision of the Anti-cleric for OD&D that I designed so that it can be perfectly integrated to the original rules, just between clerics and dwarves in Men & Magic. 

Anti-clerics :  

Anti-clerics are evil alter-ego of clerics of the Law. They are always Chaotic. Organized in hierarchical cults, they worship various demons and can use all the weapons. When Anti-clerics reached the top level (High Evil Priest), they may opt to build their own stronghold, and when doing so receive help from "above". Thus, if they spend 100,000 Gold Pieces in castle construction, they may build a fortress of double that cost. Finally, "faithful" men will come to such a castle, being fanatically loyal, and they will serve at no cost. They will be 30-300 Brigands. Anti-clerics with castles of their own will have control of a territory similar to the "Barony" of fighters, and they will receive "tithes" equal to 20 Gold Pieces/Inhabitant/year. 

Charisma is the prime requisite for Anti-clerics. They can use strength on a 3 for 1 basis (and wisdom on a 2 for 1 basis) in their prime requisite area, for purposes of gaining experience only.  

Anti-clerics
0         Evil Acolyte
1250   Evil Adept
2500   Shaman
5000   Evil Priest
10000 Evil Curate
20000 Evil Bishop
40000 Evil Lama
80000 Evil High Priest 

Anti-clerics fight and save as Clerics. Anti-clerics use spell books as Clerics and Magic-users.  They use the Clerics spell list but Clerical spells underlined on the table for Cleric Spells have a reverse effect, all others functioning as noted. The chief exception is the Raise Dead spell which becomes:
The Finger of Death:
Instead of raising the dead, this spell creates a "death ray" which will kill any creature unless a saving throw is made (where applicable). Range: 12". 

Demon summonning [for optional use as part of Supplement III]: Anti-clerics can conjure and/or control a demon whose true name they discovered in their treaties of demonology. Anti-clerics roll 2d6 on the following table to determine the success of their attempt (possible negative modifiers, positive modifiers depending on special magic items):

Demon  | Shaman | Evil Priest | Evil Curate | Evil Bishop | Evil Lama | Evil High Priest
Type I 11 9 7 5 3 1
Type II - 11 9 7 5 3
Type III - - 11 9 7 5
Type VI - - - 11 9 7
Type V - - - - 11 9
Type VI - - - - - 11

If the roll is successful, the demon is under control (as the effect of a charm) for 2d6 days x anti-cleric level. The dice roll must be kept secret. Once this time has elapsed, the demon is free to do what it wants (like disembowelling the anti-cleric) for a number of rounds equal to its type. After that, it returns to where it came from. If the roll is unsuccesful, the demon is free to do what it wants (like disembowelling the anti-cleric) for a number of rounds equal to its type. After that, it returns to where it came from. Artifacts may allow the summoning of demon princes.
 

samedi 4 mai 2013

Clerics & Anti-clerics - Part 2

So, as I have said in my previous post, here is the summary of what OD&D suggests (more or less explicitly) on clerics and anti-clerics

Clerics : 
Clerics are part of a esoteric and military (1C) religious order (perhaps proselyte (6B)) characterized by its study of religious texts (2) enabling them to understand better the creation and get spiritually closer to their unique god. This exegesis of sacred texts gives them powers inaccessible to the profane (5). It's an hermetic society in which clerics progress through successive stages from acolyte unable to use the divine power (because she has to prove her worth) to the patriarch who guide the religious order and leads the Crusades, via the Lama doctor of the Law and the Bishop sent to the Wilderness to conquer his domain by the strength of his arm and the purity of his faith (2).

But as in any religion, strife await because of different interpretations of the Book : Any cleric who rises in the hierarchy of knowledge must eventually choose sides (1A) between the mainstream (the Law) which gathers most patriarchs and the deviant interpretations described as heretical (the Chaos). These are parallel orders* of Chaotic clerics (6A) more or less rejected by the Church of the Law, each led by a different (Chaotic) patriarch named heresiarch (7) which gathers also holy warriors (1C) and fight the undead too (4). Rather than building a fortress, they lead a nomadic life in as missionaries (7).


*for example : blog In Places Deep.



Anti-clerics :
Anti-clerics are always Chaotic and evil (3). They are satanists* who worship many demons that are the source of their powers, counterfeiting the hierarchy of the Church of the Law (3). Evil High Priests also build strongholds for their respective cults (1) and are particularly civil with travelers who stop in their castle and pay their required tithes (6A).

*porphyre77 rightly pointed out that the pagan role was filled by Druids.

Any comment, guys?

vendredi 3 mai 2013

Clerics & Anti-clerics - Part 1

Image of World of Xoth, Thulsa's blog.
Since that I am directed to add the anti-clerics to E&S, I read entirely including three brown books and some messages from bloggers to give me a general idea of ​​how others treat it. And I am very dissatisfied.
Truce of additional considerations ! We
should rather see my interpretation of OD&D. 


(1) "Clerics: [...] When Clerics reach the top level (Patriarch) they may opt to build their own stronghold, and when doing so receive help from "above". Thus, if they spend 100,000 Gold Pieces in castle construction, they may build a fortress of double that cost. Finally, "faithful" men will come to such a castle, being fanatically loyal, and they will serve at no cost. There will be from 10-60 heavy cavalry, 10-60 horsed crossbowmen ("Turcopole"-type), and 30-180 heavy foot. Note that Clerics of 7th level and greater are either "Law" or "Chaos", and there is a sharp distinction between them. If a Patriarch receiving the above benefits changes sides, all the benefits will immediately be removed! Clerics with castles of their own will have control of a territory similar to the "Barony" of fighters, and they will receive "tithes" equal to 20 Gold Pieces/Inhabitant/year."
(2) Clerics:
1. Acolyte
2. Adept
3. Village Priest
4. Vicar

5. Curate
6. Bishop
7. Lama
8. Patriarch
(3) Anti-Clerics: 
1. Evil Acolyte, 
2. Evil Adept, 
3. Shaman, 
4. Evil Priest, 
5. Evil Curate, 
6. Evil Bishop, 
7. Evil Lama, 
8. Evil High Priest.
 -Men & Magic. 


(4)"A full explanation of each spell follows. Note that under lined Clerical spells are reversed by evil Clerics. Also, note the Clerics versus Undead Monsters table, indicating the strong effect of the various clerical levels upon the undead; however, evil Clerics do not have this effect, the entire effect being lost. Note: There are Anti-Clerics (listed below) who have similar powers to Clerics. Those Clerical spells underlined on the table for Cleric Spells have a reverse effect, all others functioning as noted. The chief exception is the Raise Dead spell which becomes:
The Finger of Death: Instead of raising the dead, this spell creates a "death ray" which will kill any creature unless a saving throw is made (where applicable). Range: 12". (A Cleric-type may use this spell in a life-or-death situation, but misuse will immediately turn him into an Anti-Cleric.)"
(5)"Characters who employ spells are assumed to acquire books containing the
spells they can use, one book for each level."
-Men & Magic

(6) "Clerics will require passersby to give a tithe (10%) of all their money and jewels. If there is no payment possible the Cleric will send the adventurers on some form of Lawful or Chaotic task, under Quest. Generally Evil High Priests will simple attempt to slay Lawful or Neutral passersby who fail to pay their tithes."
(7) "Patriarchs are always Lawful, and Evil High Priests are always Chaotic. All other castle inhabitants will be either hostile to the adventurers (die 1-3) or neutral (die 4-6). "
-Underworld and Wilderness adventures
Let's briefly push the open doors : the cleric is a kind of Templar of a pseudo-Christian religion (orthodoxy is the most probable) progressing to status of patriarch (there may be several patriarchs, which can be a territorial division) and attracting at that time a bunch of fanatics in his castle. 

(1A) Neutral clerics must choose their side at level 7 : Law or Chaos. More on this later but keep in mind that alignment is a stance
(1B) Clerics receive "help from above"...  does it refers to his superiors or his divinity? Well, we don't know. But I would tend to promote the divinity as Patriarch is the highest grade that can be achieved. And it also allows you to add a little flavor (i.e. the fortress was built where the Patriarch had his mystical ecstasy. His Lord guided him to a chest full of gold buried between the large roots of a tamarind etc.).
(1C) "Turcopole-type" riders ?! This is a precision that has always intrigued me. Turcopoles were Eastern Christians mercenaries who fought for the military orders and the Byzantine army. This fits well with the OD&D cleric-templar, but I have two points : First they are Eastern. Well managed, they can bring an exotic touch to the setting with perhaps different interpretations of the sacred texts or other religious customs, which can sometimes lead to misunderstandings between them and the clergy. Second, one can notice that they are also gathered by Chaotic clerics. More on that later.

(2) Two obvious irregularities : Bishops who do not have castle/cathedral and Lamas. porphyre77 provided an excellent explanation for the first irregularity with bishops in partibus infidelium who wander in the Wilderness to establish or re-conquer their episcopate. For the second irregularity, snorri has rightly pointed out that Lamas are sort of the doctors of the Law (Darhma). More on this later. 

(3) Anti-clerics are Chaotic and evil. Note that they do not have an "evil village priest" nor "evil vicars". These guys are not found in the country and never make sermons in the village church. "Shaman" is an interesting title because it refers to paganism. Talisman calls Anti-Clerics heretics and heresiarchs and this is a nice point of view.

(4) No vade retro for evil clerics (which obviously refers to anti-clerics). Please note that the anti-clerics do not control the undead with the inverted vade-retro of the subsequent editions. By the way, I remind you that anti-clerics and clerics have only 13 spells in common (for information, the magic-users and clerics have 10 in common). The anti-cleric is truly a class apart from the cleric !

(5) Clerics HAVE spell books, as everyone seems to forget (the OD&D retro clone Delving Deeper and E&S are the only ones that I know which includes this rule). Clerics studying books of spells remind me strongly of Kabbalists and the like (hermeticism, gnosticism, mandaeism and manichaeism).

(6A) This paragraph seems oddly enough to distinguish between the Clerics (chaotic or lawful) that cast quests if not paid and Anti-Clerics who kills you if you do not pay them. This may be a drafting error or an unfortunate distinction, but remenber, any deviant interpretation is up for grabs.  
(6B) Another interesting point is that it seems that the Clerics or Anti-Clerics, if they are paid, are the most friendly castellans (even the Evil High Priests !) compared to the Lords and magicians.

(7) This passage invalidates a previous remark unless... there is not only patriarchs and evil high priests (which is indirectly refuted by the random table, but we can try to see where it takes us). More on this later.

The remarks are completed, part 2 will be a synthesis of this mess to see how it can be used in game. You may be a little surprised by my own interpretaion