Something for the Clerics...

A few of you have mentioned how much you enjoyed the rules for how mages’ desire to conduct magical research created a nee for monster parts, which led them to create dungeons. But you pointed out that clerics lack similar incentives to do clerical things, such as build temples or gather faithful. Below I present new rules that should appear in v17 of ACKS. Please let me know what you think.

Spiritual Essence
When a divine spellcaster creates a magic item to further the goals of his patron deity, he may substitute an equivalent value of spiritual essence for some or all of the special components required for the item. Spiritual essence is drawn from the faith of the divine spellcaster’s congregants. Every fifty congregants can yield up to 10 XP worth of spiritual essence per week of faithful worship.
Spiritual essence is ephemeral. It is only accumulated while the divine spellcaster is actively creating a magic item. If not enough spiritual essence is accumulated while the item is being created, the divine spellcaster must either use special components to finish the item, or delay the completion of the item until he has accumulated enough spiritual essence. Any spiritual essence remaining when the item is created is lost.
To qualify as congregants, characters must be of the same alignment as the divine spellcaster, worship his deity, and consider the divine spellcaster to be their spiritual advisor. A divine spellcaster’s party members, retainers and followers usually form the core of his congregants. Divine spellcasters can recruit additional congregants by dispatching missionaries, constructing temples, and performing charitable deeds. Each month, the GM should total the gold piece value of all spells charitably cast on behalf of peasants (use the costs for spells from the Spell Availability by Market Table in the Hirelings, Retainers, Specialists and Mercenaries section). To this amount, add the gp value of any hirelings deployed as missionaries and the GP value of any religious structures erected. For every 1,000gp so expended, the divine spellcaster gains a number of congregants equal to 1d10 + CHA bonus.
More established divine spellcasters can amass congregants by assuming rulership of a domain, or becoming the spiritual advisor of a domain ruler. A domain ruler can simply command his subjects to worship his god, creating vast congregations within his domain. Of course, not every subject in a domain will faithfully worship on command – the domain’s morale will make a large difference. A ruler who asks his subjects to worship a god foreign to them will suffer large penalties to domain morale, so most divine spellcasters will seek to establish long-term relationships with rulers and subjects familiar with his deity. The Domain Worship table lists the value of spiritual essence a ruler can extract from the peasant families in his domain. To become the spiritual advisor of a domain ruler, the divine spellcaster will generally have to be the highest level divine spellcaster with whom the ruler has Friendly relations (as per the Monster Reaction Table). For rules on establishing domains, peasant families, and domain morale, see Strongholds and Domains later in this section.
EXAMPLE: Balbus, a 9th level Cleric of Ammonar, rules Ammantavus, a domain of 2,500 peasant families (12,500 people) with a domain morale score of 0. Each week, Balbus gains 4xp worth of spiritual essence per 10 families (50 people), or 1,000xp value total, from his domain. If Balbus’s subjects were more loyal to him, he could gain much more spiritual essence from his domain.
Domain Worship Table
Morale Spiritual Essence per 10 Families per Week
-4 0
-3 1
-2 2
-1 3
0 4
+1 5
+2 6
+3 7
+4 8
-4 9

Great idea - just one question - once the less-established cleric forms his congregation how much does it cost to maintain it ? - or does he just build up another congregation next time he wants their spiritual essence ?

that seems pretty cool

This is interesting, the only problem I see is how it works with a multiple gods pantheon (we are in an old world setting), seems to me that this could led to a monotheistic logic… must read again the section on gods…

I like the idea and the mechanics. That’s a strong incentive for a cleric to convert and maintain congregations.
The concept seems like a weird kind of soul-sucking of the congregation. (Not that I’m necessarily against that, mind you…) What if the concept was something along the lines of Divine Favor? More worshippers means the god is more willing to pour their own power into the item. That ties the congregational prayer power to the god rather than directly to the cleric, and reinforces the “clerics need gods, gods need clerics” relationship.

That’s awesome and would work great with a system for making converts that could be an extrapolation of the rules for recruiting followers. Street preaching to form a congregation seems like an Adventurer-level activity, while making magic items on an altar seems like Conqueror or King.
I like Undercrypt’s tweak of the story behind it: more worshippers give the god more wormholes through which to pour its power into the mortal world where the magic item can store it like a battery. I also like the way this ties the “more worshippers make a god more powerful” trope in a knot: more worshippers make a god more able to equip its clerics with magic items to become more powerful in the world and defeat rival faiths and recruit worshippers.

Great feedback, guys! I’ll update accordingly.
Also, for the chaotic clerics…blood sacrifices to gain divine favor. Just saying!

A blood sacrifice is just a convert with a shorter life span.

@Undercrypt: It could be though that a blood sacrifices are a short cut to a large amount of favor. It’s the classic I’ve give you one marshmallow now and if you haven’t eaten it in 5 minutes you get another scenario… expect with ritual sacrifices and evil chthonic gods.
So the evil cleric might sacrifice a few of his chosen and that’s worth X - reduction amount of the prayer they might have done for that year, but they get it all right away. Where as the good cleric has to take a little longer, but he still has that follower to prayer going forward.