Priest characters are not required to take up arms and set out on adventures to smite evil. No, their hierarchies require administrators, clerks, and devout workers of all types. Thus, although there may be many clergymen and women at a temple or monastery, only a few will have a character class and levels.

Not all monks at a monastery are 1st-level (or higher) clerics. Most are monks or nuns, devout men and women working to serve their faith. Non-adventuring clergy are no less devout than their adventuring brethren, nor do they receive any less respect. Thus, it is possible to have leaders within a religious hierarchy who show no signs of special clerical ability, only proper faith and piety.

Even more so than with military men, though, level is not a determiner of rank. Wisdom and its use, not the application of firepower or the number of foemen smitten, are the true pearls of the clergy. Indeed the goal of some beliefs is to demonstrate the greatest wisdom by divesting oneself of all earthly bonds--power, wealth, pride, and even level abilities--in an attempt to attain perfect harmony with everything.

In the end, adventuring priests tend to form a small nucleus of crusaders for the faith. They are the ones who demonstrate their faith by braving the dangers that threaten their beliefs, the ones who set examples through trials and hardships. From these, others may spiritually profit.

(See also
Priest, Players Handbook)

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