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Divine Power (4e)

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This must-have book is the latest in a line of player-friendly game supplements offering hundreds of new options for D&D characters, specifically focusing on heroes who draw power from divine forces.

It provides new archetypical builds for the cleric, paladin, invoker, and avenger classes, including new character powers, feats, paragon paths, and epic destinies.

It also includes rules for divine domains.

Product History

Divine Power (2009), by Rob Heinsoo, Richard Baker, Logan Bonner, and Robert J. Schwalb, was the third Powered splatbook for D&D 4e. It was published in July 2009.


Continuing the Powers Books. Divine Power was the last of the core power source books, following on from Martial Power (2008) and Arcane Power (2009). Like its predecessors, it highlighted four character classes that used the power source, providing new builds, new paragon paths, and new epic destinies for those classes. Since there were only two divinely sourced classes in the 4e Player's Handbook (2008), Divine Power also rebuilt two classes from the Player's Handbook 2 (2009): the avenger and the invoker.

Divine Power was (of course) not the first such splatbook for divine classes; D&D had been publishing such books since the 2e era. Past divine splatbooks included PHBR3: The Complete Priest's Handbook (1990), PHBR12: The Complete Paladin's Handbook (1994), Defenders of the Faith (2001), Complete Divine (2004), and Complete Champion (2007).

Divine Power could have been the end of the Power series, if not for Wizards' very carefully crafted release schedule for D&D 4e. Each year's set of core books was intended to introduce a new power source. Thus, the Player's Handbook 2 (2009) introduced the primal power source, which in turn led to the publication of Primal Power (2009) in October.

Expanding Dungeons & Dragons. Divine Power introduces the idea of divine domains to D&D 4e. The idea that different deities specialized in different types of divine magic had been a core part of D&D since AD&D 2e (1989), but it had been left out of the core 4e rules. Now, divine domains were integrated into the new game through a "divinity feat" and a "domain feat" available for each sphere that a deity specialized in.

About the Avenger. A couple of classes named the "avenger" had appeared in previous editions of D&D. Domains of Dread (1997) introduced a revenge-focused fighter, but PHBR13: The Complete Druid's Handbook (1994) and 3.5e's Unearthed Arcana (2004) detailed something more typical: a druidic avenger of the earth. Though it shares a name with these older classes, the avenger introduced in the 4e Player's Handbook 2 was something entirely new: a divine striker, meant to fill out the menu of divine roles, which had previously included just a divine leader (the cleric) and a divine defender (the paladin). As a divine striker, the avenger took on much the same tactical role as the cavalier and paladin had in previous editions of the game, though thematically he was something different: an "agent of divine justice".

About the Cleric. Though there was no healing to be found in Chainmail (1971), the cleric appeared as one of the three core classes in OD&D (1974). He reappeared in AD&D (1977-1979), then became closer to his god in AD&D 2e (1989) — primarily thanks to the introduction of specialized priests, which gave clerics unique powers based on their deity. In the 3e era (2000), clerics became healing machines, thanks to their ability to substitute healing for other memorized spells. D&D 4e marked another big change for clerics: in their role as divine leaders they were now likely to strike down their opponents, not just heal and support. Divine Power somewhat reversed this trend by introducing a new Healer's Mercy class feature and a new Shielding Cleric build — both of which allowed players to take on more classic clerical roles.

About the Invoker. The invoker may have been the most peculiarly named class in D&D 4e. That's because the name had previously been used in AD&D 2e (1989) for wizards who specialized in evocation and invocation magic. The invoker that appeared in 4e's Player's Handbook 2 was something entirely different: a divine controller, meant to complete the menu of divine roles. Thematically, he was a god-touched character who made covenants directly with his god, creating a parallel to the arcane warlocks.

About the Paladin. The paladin first appeared in D&D Supplement I: Greyhawk (1975) as a subclass of the fighter. In AD&D (1977) days, he was best known as one of the most impossible character classes to play, due to very high stat requirements. The paladin became its own core class in 3e (2000), much like the ranger did. In 4e (2008), his theming changed somewhat. Instead of being an honorable knight, he was now a champion of his god, tying him closer to the divine power source.

About the Creators. Heinsoo was the lead designer of D&D 4e, who continued to do core work on a few of the early Power books. Baker, Bonner, and Schwalb would all contribute considerable work to the 4e line over the next few years.

About the Product Historian

The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons - a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to shannon.appelcline@gmail.com.


 
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Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
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November 4th, 2015
This book is aimed at the players of characters who look to the deities of their world for inspiration or power, and presents new ideas and options for any paladin, cleric, avenger or invoker character. The main part of the book consists of chapters fo [...]
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Copper seller
Pages
160
ISBN
978-0-7869-4982-3
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File Last Updated:
February 11, 2015
This title was added to our catalog on January 06, 2015.