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Doomguides are devoted clerics and paladins of Kelemvor, god of the dead, whom they serve, along with the people of Faerûn, by helping mortals deal with their fears of death and existence after the fact. In order to help combat these fears, many of which are tied to the works of necromancers, doomguides also serve as elite divine spellcasters who seek out necromancers and their undead servitors to destroy them and bring a measure of peace to the world.
To doomguides and their god there is no greater abomination than the undead and doomguides train throughout their careers to free these souls and send them on their way to the City of Judgment. To aid them Kelemvor grants his priests some measure of his power and grace, instilling doomguides with a power over death that fills the undead and their masters with fear.
While important as hunters of the undead, for doomguides this is merely a secondary role they take up when necessary and all doomguides understand the need to both lay the undead to rest and comfort the living, regardless of their personal preferences. The primary duties of doomguides remain the consolation of the dying, the dead, and those whom they have left behind to grieve for them. Most doomguides are compassionate undertakers and find meaning in comforting the dying and the families of the deceased. In this strange duality, as bringers of peace to those who are dying and merciless foes of the undead, doomguides are reflective of death itself.
The philosophy of Kelemvor's church is often divided, with many clerics favoring one aspect of death over another. Some take up their role as peaceful ushers of the sick and dying into the Fugue Plane while others place a higher emphasis on their deadly but exciting role as banes of the undead, viewing their bedside ministry as a necessary but dull interruption to these other duties. Paladins of Kelemvor, required to stay true to their god's alignment, find a delicate middle ground. Generally speaking, Kelemvor prefers his doomguides to follow this middle road, though any divine servant of the god can join the order's elite ranks.
Doomguides serve Kelemvor in a way that is different than lower-ranking priests, often acting as courier between temples. Attached not to any one place but to the entire world, doomguides are expected to travel far and spread the teachings of the Lord of the Dead on the afterlife and what it holds for mortals. Nor are all doomguides exclusively priests and many, particularly those who seek to excel at their role as destroyers of the undead, acquire fighter, sorcerer, or wizard training. Few rogues or monks, however, go on to become doomguides and it is impossible for either barbarians or druids to do so.
Other duties carried on by doomguides include officiating funerals, particularly important ones, or performing resurrection rituals for ardent servants of the church with yet more work to do. However, while doomguides are sometimes found in bands of adventurers as aids in fighting the undead it is uncommon to simply encounter them by chance, though they are as often found in either wilderness or urban surroundings.
For many, simply becoming a doomguide is a challenge in itself and the training to attain this status passes on several important abilities to Doomguides. Most doomguides, prior to joining the order's prestigious ranks, have some knowledge of the planes, some skill for negotiation, and a powerful will. A great many, particularly those with previous training in Kelemvor's church are also familiar with turning undead as well as speaking with them. The only true requirement, however, is some degree of skill in casting prayers and a devotion to Kelemvor.
The most basic, and perhaps to those whom they protect and serve, valuable ability for a doomguide is their power to prevent undeath, shielding a corpse and its soul from those who would seek to raise it as an undead servant. In order to do this a doomguide must touch the body in question, performing a ritual that prevents it from being reanimated without the direct intervention of a god or primordial. The number of times a doomguide can perform this ritual is dependent upon the experience and knowledge of the individual doomguide and some vastly powerful creatures are beyond the doomguide's ability to shield.
The prayers wielded by doomguides are extremely potent in their ability to smite undead, though they are deadly to living foes as well. Early on doomguides learn Kelemvor's circle, a more powerful version of turn undead, which causes undead to burn in a hot flash of light. For more powerful doomguides there is the Kelemvor's sword prayer, known commonly before the Spellplague as bond of Fatal Touch, after the Lord of the Dead's favored weapon, Fatal Touch. Some doomguides, particularly before the Spellplague, also learn to use an ability known as ethereal purge which creates a sphere within which ethereal creatures are forced onto the Prime Material Plane.
Not all doomguide abilities are purely offensive in nature. In order to protect themselves and others from the touch of death, experienced doomguides learn unsullied heart, also known as Kelemvor's grace prior to the Spellplague, to ward off deathly effects that effect the body or mind. With enough training, some doomguides even gain a complete immunity to such effects. Even inexperienced doomguides have some small measure of protection and with each enemy they fell the doomguide's resistance to such necrotic energies increases, particularly if the enemy in question is an undead creature.
Doomguides are exceptional healers, even compared with typical clerics, and in a strange occurrence due to Kelemvor's favor doomguides actually act as better healers when undead are close by.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Eric L. Boyd, Erik Mona (May 2002). Faiths and Pantheons. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 186. ISBN 0-7869-2759-3.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Rob Heinsoo, Logan Bonner, Robert J. Schwalb (September 2008). Forgotten Realms Player's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 50. ISBN 978-0-7869-4929-8.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Eric L. Boyd, Erik Mona (May 2002). Faiths and Pantheons. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 187. ISBN 0-7869-2759-3.