Now, not a lot of people really roleplay discipline priests in my experience. Of course, it could just be that all the discipline roleplayers are off roleplaying elsewhere and disappear, run away or lie about their specs when I come near, but I think it’s fair to say that there’s not a lot of people who do it. For this reason, when we decided to do three different Do It Different posts on the three priest specs, we couldn’t actually think of the archetype we wanted to fly against when we did Discipline.
Hence, Nike, we hope you forgive us: in addition to Do It Different Holy and Shadow, we have Just Do It: Discipline.
It was our regular reader Pixelated Executioner who really solidly presented an archetype of the Discipline Priest that we here at Blogatelle could get behind: that while the Holy Priest heals (both in game and in roleplay) and the Shadow Priest hurts people (again, in both senses), the Discipline Priest stops people from getting hurt in the first place. I was thinking something more or less like this from the start (though in my arguments with Sean on the subject, I used long-winded analogies to King Solomon and Jesus and friends of the family, so it’s possible he mistook my actual point for drunken ramblings about nothing).
From here we both considered the archetypes a bit longer, and ended up reaching this conclusion; the stereotype seems to be that Holy is ‘good’, Shadow is ‘evil’ and Discipline is ‘neutral’. Deriving directly from Pixelated Executioner’s interpretation, I propose this: that the Holy Serve, the Discipline Lead and the Shadow are the Renegades. This isn’t always going to be exactly the case, but I feel it is a roleplay-centric notion that holds up to lore, game mechanics and shows distinct differences between the groups.
Having now thoroughly explained where I’m going from here, here are a few archetypes that can be played within this concept of the Discipline Priest as the Leader and Protector.
The Judge (Discipline Version). While the Shadow Judge will judge you from afar and then exact his punishment upon you, you will always be aware that the Discipline Judge is judging you. It is his duty to exact equal judgment on those who follow his path, with no bias for class or sex, and while he is strict, his actions are tempered with the mercy he believes his faith should provide to all. Often as objective as possible, the Judge frequently prefers to let people reach their own conclusions about their troubles while only observing from the outside, only stepping in when there has been, in his eyes, a grievous sin committed.
The Flagellant. Whether ritualistically, to atone for his or her own sins, to punish oneself, or to train oneself out of responding to physical pain, this character will go through such means as self-flagellation, sleep denial, or even beating oneself with their own hands to inflict personal pain and suffering. As a result, they are very restrained, controlled people – they almost certainly firmly believe in mind over matter. The frightening part of this archetype is that through their controlled, firm manner and deep belief in physical pain to create emotional toughness, at their extreme they become cult leaders and fanatics, leading other people to engage in dangerous activity in the name of faith. From the outside, this can seem anything from frankly absurd (look at those people, hitting themselves for religion) to incredibly sinister. At worst, they may as a group set out to cause harm to others in the name of the same things, blurring the line between Discipline and Shadow – in the worst of ways.
The Evangelical. Distinct from the Holy Miracle Man, the Evangelical seems to progress through life through sheer force of will and belief. Charismatic, kind and excitable, the Evangelical is convinced they know the right way for everyone, and that way is their way. They have the unfortunate flaw of thinking that if something is acceptable, it is mandatory, and if something is not mandatory, it is forbidden – their views are very polarised, and they don’t relent on their position if they can possibly avoid it. Despite this, they are a genuinely good person to be around… just don’t bring up anything they disagree with. A good listener (because they think it’s right to be) and sympathetic when it’s necessary, and a ball of righteous energy when it’s not. Let’s get our Light on, let’s kick it Elune-style! It’s hard not to feel happy about your faith when they’re around – provided you agree with them.